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No Time to Die

Synopsis:
James Bond has left active service. His peace is short-lived when Felix Leiter, an old friend from the CIA, turns up asking for help, leading Bond onto the trail of a mysterious villain armed with dangerous new technology.
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A retired James Bond is pulled back into action by a new global threat in . James Bond () has left MI6 for a life in Italy with Madeleine Swann (), though a sudden attack by the criminal organization SPECTRE, somehow run from behind bars by Ernst Stavro Blofeld (), results in Bond to doubt Madeleine's allegiances, resulting in the two separating. Five years later, Bond is approached by his old CIA contact Felix Leiter (), who wants James' help with recovering a stolen biological weapon codenamed Herakles. It turns out that MI6 is also attempting to recover Herakles, with M () sending his new 007 agent Nomi (). It soon comes to plan that the theft of Herakles is part of a revenge plan by the mysterious criminal Lyutsifer Safin ().

After five films spanning over the course of nearly fifteen years, No Time to Die marks the swan song for Daniel Craig's tenure as James Bond, which began with 2006's Casino Royale. Cary Joji Fukunaga (True Detective) takes over in the director's chair from Sam Mendes, who directed 2012's Skyfall and 2015's Spectre. In a similar fashion to how 2008's Quantum of Solace was a direct follow-up to Casino RoyaleNo Time to Die picks up shortly after Spectre left off. This includes the return of Léa Seydoux as Madeleine Swann, whose cloudy backstory plays a major role in the plot of this film.

It's probably safe to say at this point that the Daniel Craig era of James Bond films has been the most serialized, with there being character development over the course of the films. With that in mind, No Time to Die feels more like an epilogue than a true swan song for Daniel Craig's run as Bond. Despite the mixed critical reception to the film, it can be argued that this semi-rebooted chronology hit its crescendo with Spectre, by introducing Bond's archnemesis of Ernst Stavro Blofeld and featuring what at the time could be viewed as a relatively satisfying conclusion to Daniel Craig as James Bond.

While No Time to Die does end up being an emotional swan song in its own right, I ended up feeling quite underwhelmed by Rami Malek as the villain Lyutsifer Safin, whose presence in the film actually peaks in an opening prologue, which almost has a horror film element to it. Also, probably the most enjoyable sequence comes relatively early in the film when Bond teams with Cuban CIA agent Paloma () to try and recover the stolen bioweapon Herakles and its kidnapped developer Valdo Obruchev (David Dencik). While her screentime in the 163-minute film is relatively bleak, Ana de Armas really ends up doing a lot with her small role and it's a shame she is not in the film for longer. However, there is a very heavy female presence overall in No Time to Die, which includes the returning characters of Madeleine Swann and Eve Moneypenny () and Lashana Lynch getting some time to shine as the new female 007 Nomi.

Ultimately, I would have to say that I rank No Time to Die last when it comes to Daniel Craig's James Bond films. I wouldn't say that I disliked this film, but at the end of the day, I didn't really feel that it adds much to the overall character development, other than perhaps the final moments.

No Time to Die opens on Friday, October 8, 2021


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Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly is a freelance film critic and blogger based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
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