Saturday, October 2, 2021

No Time To Die (2021)

I have to admit that I found some of the previous incarnations of the Daniel Craig Bond character to be dull and humorless. I found the plots and themes to be repetitive and Craig himself to be distant. Just a thug, the blunt end of the spear who as an actor doesn't give a shit if I liked him as Bond. I found that portrayal to grow tiresome after a time. It's OKAY for Bond to smile, its okay if he knows that I like him. But it's his job to make it FUN for me which he did not. That and the unavoidable Bond tropes make things blend together after a time in my mind. Call it a 'house style' but after this film the whole franchise needs a major reboot. That being said, this might be the best James Bond movie of the last 20 years.

I go into this one with the hope of something special in store for me for Craig's last go at Bond. He really surprised me with KNIVES OUT so I am just a little more impressed with him as an actor. And what do you know, I DO like him more this time out. His portrayal of everyone's favorite gentleman spy is GREAT. He's just stepped up his game for this one and if you have to go out, why not go out on top? In that spirit the opening action sequence staring the Aston Martin DB5 from Goldfinger is a nice call back to action scenes of the past.

After an assassination attempt, Bond is left alone again, betrayed by a woman and lost on a sailing ship while licking his romantic wounds. For a super secret spy he sure is on the moody side.  That is until the mission begins and that is when Bond comes alive and finds his groove and actually looks like he is enjoying doing what he does best, shaking things up using chaos and violence.

Soon Bond is back with MI6 and all that comes with that. Q is always a treat and this time we also have the addition of two other female agents, 00s themselves to help him kick ass and take names when another megalomaniac with a world killing scheme threatens again.

Did I mention that one of the agents is the new 007? She was given the designation after Bond retired. That MI6 doesn't allow grass to grow under their feet and are not ones for sentimentality. She and Bond have some great play between them as their respect for one another grows. The franchise doesn't need a female Bond because that is not the story but a female led spy film of this scale is definitely due. Make the same kind of film, just don't call her Bond.

I never grow tired of the exotic locations, one of the best parts of any James Bond adventure. It's like the entire universe of the film exists in it's own bubble that is consequence and pandemic free. This world is beautiful and dangerous but no one runs out of bullets or gets killed until it is their time to do so.

The true joy in this one is the way Craig gets to end his time as Bond his way by doing something he has never got to do before - be happy. And for the 25th film in the franchise, that is a revelation to me. Finally James Bond is the most interesting guy in his own film. The stuff with CIA buddy Felix is very entertaining like an 80s cop/buddy film. That banter is something Craig resisted adding to his performance in the past. It was the missing piece of the puzzle all along and I am glad Craig saved his best work for last.

I know the franchise will go on with a new actor to take over the iconic role and I for one would like to see them go back to the beginning with an actor like Henry Caville. His Napoleon Solo in Man From UNCLE was the prototype for how the next series of Bond movies should be envisioned. Are you listening, Guy Richie. You are my go-to choice for director.

Either way No Time to Die will be recognized as one of the best films in the series that is also a nearly perfect James Bond adventure that didn't need so much James Bond stuff to make it a good film. In fact it's the judicious use of all that makes a Bond movie great that allowed for room for what was new about this one. For me the mixture of the two was intoxicating.

Rami Malek is also very good but even with his splashy villain, it's Craig's movie all the way. It will make a ton of cash and it should. It's a reason to go back into a theatre if that was a smart move these days.


Debra She Who Seeks said...

I look forward to seeing this when it eventually hits a streaming service. Daniel Craig is my favourite Bond, actually.

Unknown said...

A well done review. Thank you.