The peaceful retirement of James Bond is short-lived when an old friend asks for help, leading Bond onto the trail of a mysterious villain armed with dangerous new technology.
THE GOOD STUFF:
-DANNY F******* CRAIG- I’ve been saying it for years, Daniel Craig is the best actor to play James Bond. Is he the man that most fits the traditional aesthetics and style of the character? Absolutely not. To me, as a non-traditional James Bond fan, even I can tell he never had the swag that Sean Connery had. Not ever. At all.
However, if you haven’t been able to tell by this point (5 movies and 15 years later), the emotional weight is what he brings to this character that has absolutely never been brought to it before. His performance in and of itself has been worth the price of admission every time out. This is no exception. He’s the man.
-LASHANA LYNCH- There has been a lot of unnecessary controversy over the purpose of this character’s existence in this film. A film that goes above and beyond to tell you that 007 is just a number given to MI6 agents. I don’t feel it be too spoilery to say that the “Bond Girl” that Lynch plays in this film is very much the Robin to James Bond’s Batman, more so than any “Bond Girl” has ever been.
-THE OPENING SEQUENCE- Quite possibly as close as you can get to a James Bond short film, the beginning sequence of this film is the best opening sequence of the Craig-era bond series. They displayed a whole lot of shots from the opening sequence in the promo material for this film with good reason.
This movie got off to a hell of a start…that is…until…
THE BAD STUFF:
-THIS GARBAGE ASS THEME SONG- Do you remember the moment right after watching Bond snuff that jabroni in the bathroom in CASINO ROYALE, they cut to that AMAZING (And I repeat, F****** AMAZING) Bond theme song sung by the great Chris Cornell (RIP)? I most certainly do. It certainly set the tone for the film in a really good way.
Most of these upbeat Bond themes have been SLAPPERS to me personally. THIS song, though…is audio Nyquil. Something that could possibly make you sleepy even if you are fresh off of a Red Bull.
-THE VILLAIN- By general consensus, the two most beloved films of the Craig era are CASINO ROYALE and SKYFALL. It also makes sense that those two films are the Craig-era bond films with the best villains. Villains that had evil schemes and motives that were able to be explained and executed simplistically. When the villain’s plan involves a whole bunch of explaining (like QUANTUM OF SOLACE and SPECTRE), the movie itself forms an insurmountable problem. There’s so much scientific jargon and exposition about WHAT this villain’s plan is without explaining WHY the villain wants to do it that it completely drowns out whatever character could have formed if everything was simplified.
Rami Malek is a great actor. And he does a FANTASTIC job in this movie whenever he’s in it. The problem is we needed a lot more of him. A WHOLE lot more screen time for Malek would have been wonderful…
But instead, what we got was….
THE UGLY STUFF:
-THIS STUPID F******LOVE STORY- I’m hard-pressed to find an example of a romantic subplot that CONSISTENTLY hijacks the momentum of a film like this. Though I understand why this love story exists, it is ARDUOUS to get through. It is predictable, and outside of the opening sequence that focuses on it, it’s BY FAR the least interesting thing about the film. This is a 2 hour and 40-minute film that may have been able to be cut by 30 f****** minutes AT LEAST if you simply did not have Lea Seydoux’s character appear as often as she does.
There’s no less than THREE other side stories that are waaaaaay more intriguing and entertaining than this love story that is NOT EVEN CLOSE to being as engrossing as the Vesper love story told in CASINO ROYALE.
At the end of the day, Craig’s incredible performance carries this film to be the bronze medal of the Craig-era Bond films. But no higher than that.
NO TIME TO DIE is available in theaters now.