Spitfire Review: No Time to Die

After being postponed…. (checks notes) five times, No Time to Die has finally reached cinema screens. As the swan song to Daniel Craig’s Bond and the film that is hoped to lure the public back into cinemas , does it live up to the hype? Here are my thoughts…

Major spoilers for No Time to Die and all of Daniel Craig’s James Bond films.

The Good

Unlike the classic James Bond films which were mostly stand alones, Daniel Craig’s Bond contained several overarching plots all of which are concluded in No Time To Die. The first plot thread is Bond’s hurt and grief after his love interest, Vesper, betrays him at the end of Casino Royal. From Casino onwards we see a bitter and cynical Bond although during the course of No Time to Die he mellows and accepts the idea of a family life. The second plot spanning Daniel Craig’s films was Spectre secretly funding the antagonist of each film. Although the latter is a retcon added in the film Spectre it is nice to see that the producers tried to maintain continuity.

I’m also delighted to say that No Time To Die isn’t as problematic as the previous Bond films. Although the James Bond character still faces criticisms none of these complaints are warranted in No Time To Die. Aside from one scene and several references throughout the film, Bond isn’t seen having sex. To be fair, I think he had other things on his mind. If you have not read my previous post about James Bond (Does the Modern World Need James Bond) click anywhere in the brackets.

Finally it is fantastic that the producers stuck to their guns (no pun intended) and cast a female actor of colour as an MI6 operative, giving her the code name 007 in Bond’s absence. Lashana Lynch is a fantastic actress and as this is Daniel Craig’s final outing as the famous spy I would be more than happy to see her take on the role full time.

The Bad

I have my normal gripes about any action film. All the bad guys have storm trooper aim and die in a single hit. No matter what happens to the characters their make up always stays immaculate and they obtain no lasting injuries. Bond is a particularly strong culprit of this. With out giving too much away Bond survives a bomb blast at close quarters, several grenades to the face and multiple bullets wounds at point blank range. He should be dead at least twice over.

My main criticism at the film is the character Dr Madeleine Swann. In my review of Spectre I said that:

“She helps Bond in one fight scene (and even then she mucks it all up) and at the end of the film she drives a boat for a little bit. That’s it. That’s literally it. This isn’t Léa Seydoux’s fault of course.  I think the main problem was her character didn’t have a lot of room to develop in the script.”

– Me, 2015.

Sadly her character doesn’t improve. Although Dr Swann is one of the most developed Bond girls (I hate that phrase) she doesn’t do much in terms of the actual plot. Although she has a fantastic scene at the beginning of the film where, as a child, she shoots as assassin her only other contributions are screaming, crying, getting kidnapped and accidentally poisoning people. Great job Dr Swann! Admittedly I don’t think many people in real life could do better but it is disappointing regardless. Out of all the powerful female characters in Daniel Craig’s films it is a shame that she is she is the one that spans multiple films.

My only other problem with the film is the run time. Excluding the adverts and trailers, No Time to Die runs at just under three hours. It could very easily be cut down to two and a half hours.

Aside from my nitpicks, I feel as though this was a satisfying ending to Daniel Craig’s Bond and maybe James Bond overall. Who knows? If you remember the complaints Eon Production received when they casted a blond Bond imagine the impact a female actor of colour would make!

I’ll give No Time to Die 8/10. Definitely worth a watch.

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