The Daniel Craig films since that high point have generally been a mixed-bag, but Craig -- even when it's been clear that he was fairly miserable being there -- has always been rock solid (and yes of course I mean that in multiple fashions). The plots got convoluted and who-cares but I always cared about his Bond, a surprisingly vulnerable and tender mass-murderer under all those abs. Which brings us to his fifth and they-say final film in the role, No Time To Die, finally hitting theaters this weekend after ten thousand months of delays. How is it? It's fine!
Don't ask me to narrate the plot or how that entirely relates to the previous films, because I'd be terrible at that -- most of them, Royale aside, I haven't seen a second time. I enjoyed them but these aren't exactly films I revisit. They're disposable pop entertainment to me, and No Time To Die has plenty of that to offer. In a good way. What struck me the hardest with No Time To Die was just that -- this was the first very expensive action film I've seen on a big screen since I saw Casino Royale in February of 2020, and there's something to be said for that spectacle in and of itself. The money drips off the screen -- the costumes and locations and cars and special-effects. I missed the feeling of all of that, and this film absolutely delivers on each one of those fronts.
This is especially noticeable with the two main actors I didn't list above, Léa Seydoux as Bond's main squeeze Madeleine, and Rami Malek as the big villain. The film begins with Madeleine nodding her head towards how she has long felt the shadow of Eva Green's character over her relationship with Bond, and speaking for myself I felt it too -- Seydoux is in it a lot yet she leaves very little impression in the film, and she and Craig don't have anything approaching the crackling chemistry he had with Green. No Time To Die very much wants to be the great romance that Casino Royale effortlessly was, and comes up a hard short there.
But it looks great, it sounds great, and Daniel Craig is everything looking and sounding great one could ask for, and that all might be enough... for about half the movie No Time To Die is anyway. Nearly three hours is too much of an ask, but contradictorily I felt the urge to hang on with Mr. Bond for all of those extra minutes too. Depending on who gets the role next and what direction they take I can probably move on with my life now though, putting such double-oh things behind me, and maybe that's No Time To Die's biggest gift of all.