By Lauren D’Ambra
Everyone loves a good spy movie. They’re the perfect combination of thriller, comedy, and
action adventure and are usually pretty enjoyable no matter who’s watching. Nowadays, there
are lots of spy movie franchises to pick and choose from, but few are as old and as well
recognized as the James Bond series. Even if you’ve never seen a Bond movie, you can
probably recognize his iconic theme song or the opening shot of him shooting down the barrel of
an opposing gun.
The franchise just released its final film starring Daniel Craig, No Time to Die. Craig has been
playing the spectacular spy since 2006 and his final movie has been delayed numerous times
due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But Bond has bounded back and No Time to Die is currently
playing in theaters everywhere. Bond has had his hits (Skyfall, From Russia with Love) and his
misses (Moonraker, Quantum of Solace) over the years and in spite of what critics are saying,
the film was actually really good.
The opening credits to any Bond film always has an original song themed to the movie. Songs
such as Adele’s Skyfall and Paul McCartney’s Live and Let Die are Bond hallmarks, but Billie
Ellishe’s No Time to Die certainly deserves its seat at the table. The song had meaningful (and
surprisingly foreshadow-y) lyrics, a haunting piano melody, and was timed beautifully to the
Now admittedly, the movie does start a little slow with two different flashbacks that we later
discover are necessary to the plot, but once the first bomb goes off the action doesn’t stop. The
traditional opening action sequence finds Bond and his girlfriend Madeleine caught in a fast car
chase through the winding streets of Matera, Italy. It’s a fantastic sequence and a great way to
kick off a spy movie.
Beautiful action sequences may seem like an odd thing to say, but as odd as it might sound, No Time to Die is an absolutely beautiful movie. Most of the movie’s shots feel like something from Skyfall, an earlier Bond film that was praised for its cinematography. Cinematographer Linus Sandgren did a spectacular job designing the shots for this movie. Between Bond’s iconic Aston Martin being shot at between two tolling church bells and the symmetry between the shots of Bond and Madeleine driving along a winding roads in Italy at the beginning and end of the movie, Sandgren did a phenomenal job making the general grit and grime of a Bond movie look graceful.
The movie also does a great job of tying off loose ends while keeping up with its fast paced plot. Fleix, Bond’s friend from the CIA who was introduced way back in Casino Royale, makes an appearance early on. We discover that Bond has kept the ceramic bulldog gifted to him by the former M in a panned shot over the garage containing his Aston Martin. Q and Moneypenny are still Bond’s go to friends when he needs help or information. It was nice to see all of these storylines neatly come together in Craig’s final movie.
No Time to Die also managed to finally do away with a few Bond stereotypes that probably need to, well, retire. Alluring “Bond girls” are a common feature in any of the franchises’ twenty-six movies, and while the film does keep Madeleine in a loose interpretation of this role, No Time to Die also introduces a glamorously dressed Spanish spy, Paloma, who turns out to be giddy with excitement over her first real mission and completely oblivious to Bond’s romantic pursuits (the latter is absolutely hilarious). No Time to Die also manages to give 007 a calmer and less cocky personality, all without removing his humorous one liners and dry British humor. As far as this critic can tell, the only reason No Time to Die hasn’t been as well received as previous films is because of its, well, controversial ending. To keep this review as spoiler free as possible, I won’t say too much about the ending, but… wow. No Bond film has ever ended like this before and it’s safe to say that no one saw this conclusion coming. I was completely blown
away and shocked by it (and I’m not saying that everyone in the theater I was in was a little sniffly afterwards, but we were). The end of the film really is a fitting conclusion to Daniel Craig’s
version of the character.
So, what’s next for Bond? Well, if you sat through the credits of the movie, you were treated to a message stating “James Bond will return” (very obviously influenced by the most recent Marvel movies). No Time to Die is, however, the last movie starring Daniel Craig as Bond. Who’s going to play Bond next? Well, internet rumors have been circulating for well over a year now and the most popular contenders include names like Idris Ebla, Henry Cavill, and Tom Hiddelston. However, nothing has been confirmed by MGM studios yet. No Time to Die should be more than enough to keep Bond fans occupied in the meantime. So, it’s with a bittersweet smile and a little wave that we say “Goodbye Daniel Craig and see you again soon 007!”