One Line Review: With more love and attention for the characters who move around Bond, he could also have inspired. Unfortunately, No Time to Die did not accomplish this after all.
In his 25th adventure, James Bond is not only going to save the world but also to the cinemas. And while the former is a sure thing anyway, given the jam-packed hall I sat in a few days ago, things look pretty good for the latter too. At the same time, No Time to Die has to cope with the task of giving his main actor Daniel Craig a worthy conclusion in his fifth appearance in 007. And he succeeds in doing that too, albeit with a few drawbacks.
In theory, the omens (despite all the problems in production and re-shooting in the wake of the Corona-related postponement of the film) were quite good. Not just because Cary Fukunaga ( True Detective Season 1 , Beasts of No Nation ) sat in the director’s chair, but simply because of the numbers. Craig-Bond numbers 1 and 3 were good to fantastic, numbers 2 and 4 rather so well, number 5 should, following this logic, now turn in the positive direction again. He does, not least because the figure of the aging agent, who cannot enjoy his retirement, is constantly being haunted by the shadows of the past and thus also endangering the people around him, is being consistently developed further.
After a noisy start, at the end of which Bond separates from his lover (Léa Seydoux) because he associates her with another attack by Specter, we are jumping five years into the future. An apparently biological weapon is stolen from an English laboratory, and Bond – actually enjoying his old age – is asked by the CIA to take a look. It soon turns out that a double game is being played here and that a mysterious man ( Rami Malek ) first wants to wipe out Specter and then use this highly dangerous weapon to turn the world off its hinges. Why Bond is reactivated by MI6 and sent on a mission together with his successor Nomi (Lashana Lynch).
Where do you start with this more than two and a half hour long mammoth strip (by Bond standards anyway)?
Perhaps with the fact that No Time to Die develops a very pleasant narrative dynamic alternating between fast and slow moments, which is why this excess length is quickly forgotten. This is followed by the fact that the classic bond/agent formula (a handful of locations, each with plot development and action scenes, plus a few twists and betrayals) is not surprised, but carried through with confidence. Then praise the well-staged action, the courage to be more emotional, which makes Craigs Bond even more tangible than before, the performance… wait a minute.
Here lies the big sticking point of the film for me: its antagonist. It is quite daring to show his face for the first time after an hour and to start the direct confrontation with the hero only after two hours. Doesn’t change the fact that Malek embodies one of the most desolate Bond villains of all time. The next affected supervillain with a dark past who speaks with a lot of caution and discreet madness – after four Craig films, after Javier Bardem and Christoph Waltz, that’s really exhausted, and Malek just doesn’t manage to give it the flavor and fascination it needs as an actor. The fact that he is then responsible for a very plot-relevant, but hardly comprehensible kidnapping and resigns in the most unspectacular way possible, doesn’t make it any better. And that with a series that lives so much from its antagonists!
Relying on only one end
The neglect of this very important figure position is due to the fact that no time to die wants to focus fully on its protagonist. That works too but at the expense of the other characters, including MI6. It hits Bond’s number heiress particularly painfully, who enriches each of her scenes, but unfortunately doesn’t get any plot-related task at all, except to squabble with Craig’s character. Gone away potential.
The new Bond knows how to entertain, functions like a bow to the series, and swan song for the character of the testosterone-charged spy as well as a genre film. With more love and attention for the characters who move around Bond, he could also have inspired. Unfortunately, No Time to Die did not accomplish this after all.