No Time to Die

No Time to Die ★★★★½

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

“The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.” 🏆

Best Scene: Opening the Doors/Final Ascent

I do not think I've ever had to gather my thoughts on a film for so long until No Time To Die. There is so much frustration surrounding this film, specifically the ending, and most comes from the usually peaceful Bond fandom. I respect those who dislike this film, but I would be lying if I said I didn't love it. No Time To Die is among the best in this beloved saga because it cares about these characters. It is no secret that this production was rough, yet everyone involved seemed to care so much. Daniel Craig's James Bond is a lot more talkative and bold here because his character is going through the most change. We see how past betrayals cause a lingering distrust surrounding those he truly loves and respects. Madeline gets burned by James Bond as he cannot let go of losing Vesper. Their relationship is quite compelling as Bond grows to find genuine love and respect for someone who loves him equally. The same can goes for his friendships with Felix Leiter and his co-workers. Bond lives and dies to protect everyone close to him.

Furthermore, this is a damn good blockbuster. Each action sequence uses the given environment beautifully. I would say that this is the best-looking action film ever made! The stakes continuously get higher as the film feels free. As this was Craig's last film, the audience can feel that anything can happen. However, I think that the pacing is a bit off in moments. While I adore the character interactions in London, I wish there was maybe an action sequence in that chunk of the film. The exposition is a bit convoluted, and with changes, the pacing would be even stronger. My other issue is with the third act. There isn't an immediate sense of urgency once Bond and Nomi arrive at Safin's base. Safin is an underutilized, lame antagonist, and I never liked his dialogue scene with Bond. His motivation is pretty ambiguous as well. I somewhat understand what he wants, yet he acts so contradictorily. I never understood why he let Matilde run away. It takes the finale a bit to truly ramp up.

Finally, it does start to get pretty damn awesome. The one-take fight in the stairwell is brilliant, and so are the final sequences. It is a bit of a shame that it is Safin who gets Bond though the film makes me feel everything it wants me to. As soon as Hans Zimmer's incredible score begins, my heart sinks. His score is under-appreciated throughout this film, but he saved his best music for last. As Bond and Madeline speak for the last time, it hurts. Many did not want to see a Bond film get this depressing though I believe it lands. James Bond dies in one of the saddest scenes in any movie I have seen. I have come to terms with his death, and I have come to terms that this isn't a usual Bond film. No Time To Die ends tragically, but Bond dies a fulfilled man, with everyone he cares about safe. There are issues with this movie though it remains a satisfying conclusion to a beloved character.

PS: The replaying of the On Her Majesty's Secret Service theme gives me chills every time. I did a school project on that theme, so hearing it again is one of the most satisfying moments I've ever had as a Bond fan.

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