Daniel Craig stars in “No Time To Die,” the latest James Bond movie.
MGM | Universal
After 18 months of waiting, the latest installment in the James Bond saga finally hits theaters.
A swan song for actor Daniel Craig, who has played 007 since 2006’s “Casino Royale,” “No Time to Die” debuts in the UK on Friday before its US premiere on October 8.
Bond’s 25th movie isn’t perfect, but the explosive stunt sequences and a magnetic performance from Craig are enough to get past a complicated plot and lengthy length, critics say.
Years after apprehending Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Christoph Waltz), the main antagonist of 2015’s “Specter,” James Bond retired and leads a quiet life in Jamaica. When a former CIA agent asks him for help with one last job, Bond is confronted by the sinister Safin (Rami Malek) and the woman he once loved, Madeleine Swann (Lea Seydoux).
“No Time to Die” currently has a “fresh” rating of 83% on Rotten Tomatoes from 138 reviews.
Here’s what the critics of Craig’s latest James Bond movie thought ahead of its UK release:
It’s clear throughout “No Time to Die” that the film’s producers and writers were well aware that this was Craig’s final turn as the iconic 007.
AO Scott of The New York Times said the film “is extraordinarily concerned with memory and parting,” in his review of the film.
“Mortality hangs over jokes and car chases, not just the expected slaughter of anonymous henchmen, but a dark cloud of pain, loss and weariness,” he wrote.
Bond refers to himself as “an old shipwreck” and Craig, 53, plays the role of a man who has survived the battle but is not unscathed.
“[Director Cary] Fukunaga has a crisp and graceful way with the action, and some of the pieces have the flair and inventiveness of musical numbers, most notably a party in Havana where Ana de Armas shows up to play Cyd Charisse with Craig’s Gene Kelly. “said Scott.” That sequence feels like a throwback and an update, repeating the Bond tradition of elegance, charm and grand silliness. “
Daniel Craig plays James Bond in “No Time To Die.”
“No Time to Die” seems long, but “contains so much that you can hardly complain,” wrote Nicholas Barber in his review of the film for the BBC.
The film is two hours and 43 minutes long, the longest of all James Bond films to date.
“It builds on pain and raises the emotional stakes, with the help of opera music by Hans Zimmer and warm cinematography by Linus Sandgren,” said Barber. “But he also keeps up the jokes and the nonsense: it’s been decades since Bond had so many witty lines to complain about, and he’s never had so many Oliver Hardy-style exasperated looks.”
Barber said the latest James Bond movie “does exactly what it was meant to do,” gave Craig a fitting sendoff.
“Beyond that, it kind of manages to take something from all the other Bond movies and put it all together,” he said.
John Nugent, a writer for Empire, also praised Fukunaga’s direction in his review of “No Time to Die.”
Fukunaga, it seems, was an ideal director choice, skillfully balancing the contradictions of the character and the franchise, and while he doesn’t quite escape the usual pitfalls, a half-third bogged down by plot and exposure doesn’t justify that hectic runtime. : he has always been an intuitive filmmaker, deeply interested in the humanity of his characters, “wrote Nugent.
He compared Fukunaga’s action sequences to John Wick’s, and highlighted the emphasis on sharp, savage gunfights and intense chases.
“This is a Bond movie that ticks all the boxes, but brilliantly, it often doesn’t feel like a Bond movie,” Nugent wrote. “For a 007 who strove to lead humanity to a larger than life hero, it is a fitting end to the Craig era.”
Daniel Craig plays James Bond in “No Time To Die.”
For Brian Tallerico of RogerEbert.com, “No Time to Die” director Fukunaga, “plays it too safe and too familiar.”
“Even when it comes to closing character arcs that began years ago, it feels like a movie with very little at stake, a movie produced by a machine that was fueled by the previous 24 movies and programmed to spit out a greatest hits package.” he wrote in his review of the film.
Tallerico was particularly critical of the way the film used its supporting cast, noting that returning actors like Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris and Ben Whishaw have little to do except “bring the plot to its inevitable end.”
Lashana Lynch, a new addition to the film as a replacement for Bond 007, “feels like a conscious nod to the controversy surrounding Bond’s casting, which is cool enough, but it hasn’t given it a lot of character to make it interesting in her own, “he said.
And Ana de Armas, who appears as a fellow spy during a mission to Cuba, “appears to give the film a completely different and welcome new energy in an action sequence set in Cuba, only to leave the film ten minutes later.”
“‘No Time to Die’ will be remembered for its emotional impact above all,” wrote Jason Solomons in his review of the film for The Wrap. “And to top it all, Craig may well have delivered the most complex and layered Bond performance of all.”
Many critics have agreed that Craig’s performance is one of the most emotional of any previous James Bond actor. Since “Casino Royale,” the Bond character has received more depth than any other portrayal of the iconic character.
Suffice to say, then, that ‘No Time To Die’ is Daniel Craig’s best incarnation of an iconic role, an iteration that sees Bond travel into emotional spaces the character has never been to before, at least not since. ‘ On Her Majesty’s Secret Service ‘or in certain passages in Ian Fleming’s books, “Solomons wrote.
“You feel all the wear and tear on Craig’s body and face, all the tension in Bond of having to save the world one last time (again) but also all the tantalizing freedom of someone approaching the end of a long career.” , said. .
Disclosure: Comcast owns NBCUniversal and CNBC. Universal is releasing “No Time To Die” internationally, while MGM is handling the national release. Rotten Tomatoes is owned by NBCUniversal.