James Bond has always stood as one of the most iconic characters in films and literature. Existing as far back as the 1950s when Ian Fleming gave birth to the James Bond stories, the character eventually became a sturdy foundation and role model for the action genre. Since then twelve novels, two short story collections, and twenty-five feature-length films have been made to showcase Bond with all his shortcomings and glory. Within the 25 films, there has been a total of 6 actors that have portrayed the iconic character with the most recent being Daniel Craig whose time as Bond has also come to an end with the recent film No Time To Die.

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Casino Royale (2006)

I vividly remember when Craig first stepped into the role back in 2006. The announcement was met with great criticism due to the shifts for the character who prior to Craig was donned by Pierce Brosnan. I personally agreed with the initial reactions and perceptions that fans had towards the new leading man solely due to the appeal, physical attributes, and even age when compared side by side with Brosnan. Those criticisms would later become definitive proof to back up the statement “Don’t judge a book by its cover or appearance.”

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Quantum of Solace (2008)

Daniel Craig proved why he was chosen and even destined to portray the role of Bond with a characterization that showcased maturity and vulnerability that debunked the perfect, prestige and seeming indestructible image that the character used to embody. Daniel Craig as James Bond shows a flawed man underneath all the charm, grit, and specific set of deadly skills. In other words, we get a very relatable version of James Bond that goes deep into who he really is.

Skyfall,' With Daniel Craig as James Bond - The New York Times
Skyfall (2012)

Admittedly Craig’s Bond kicked off with a rocky start with the first two films with Casino Royale, which was a fine but lengthy introduction for the actor, and Quantum of Solace which was honestly a bland and forgettable offering. Everything changed for the better once Skyfall came into the picture which was then proceeded by the equally amazing Spectre. Therefore when it was announced that Daniel Craig was to create one more Bond film which was to be his last —  the excitement and pressure were on a new high this time around.

No Time To Die Review Spoiler Warnings

This review will dive deep into the qualities of Bond that make him so iconic as seen in No Time to Die as well as the overall feeling I had gotten from seeing this film – both the awesome and the somewhat disappointing natures of this epic conclusion.

So is the new Bond movie "No time to die" – Nord News

Given that I will tackle the effectiveness of this film as a finale for the entire franchise, there will be some huge spoilers up ahead. So if you’ve reached reading up until this point and have not seen the film in its entirety, I urge you to proceed with caution.

A Holistic Picture of Bond

No Time To Die establishes a very interesting theme right from the get-go which revolves around trust or the lack thereof of Bond. We have followed a man who is quite mysterious in totality but one who has also experienced pain and betrayal which now surfaces all the more in this final chapter. We, therefore, see a character whose pain is so real that it affects every decision that he makes throughout this entire film. His inability to trust those closest to him takes a huge toll on him which emphasizes his humanity.

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This is what I love about the version of the character that we have seen through Craig’s portrayal — a man who is shaken to the core and is far from perfect. We see the excellence and brilliance of James Bond in all its glory while simultaneously witnessing all the cracks and flaws of a revered man in his own right. We see a very well-rounded characterization of a fierce man who is also scared to get hurt emotionally by the people that he cares about. Furthermore, we see a man who wants to love and be loved but is also haunted by his past.

What interests me also about the depiction of Bond in No Time To Die is that the entire franchise comes into a full circle — highlighting the entire journey, growth, and consistent demons that haunt the character which can be traced back to the first film. The continuity, therefore, is spot on and it really feels like an ode to the entire franchise and everything that it has achieved.

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A Close To Home Story

For those who aren’t aware, No Time To Die actually took longer than expected to be released with several delays during production and not just due to the pandemic. It was slated for release back in 2019 but was pushed back for several reasons which included the pandemic and the departure of Danny Boyle as director. Several scenes were reshot during this time due to the change in direction for the entire film and even the initial title of Bond 25 was scrapped. Come 2021, MGM and Eon Productions, urged for the film to be released once theaters reopened prompting further delays for the release of the film until September 30 and October 8 in the UK and United States respectively.

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Upon seeing the film, however, I noticed another plausible reason for the delay which revolves around the central plot point of the movie. The film tackles the use of a biologically engineered weapon which may be a bit too close to our current predicaments, to be honest. This storyline however was brilliantly done as it dealt with morality issues as well. This also ties up brilliantly to the last film Spectre as another character, M, creates a questionable weapon out of a fear-driven need for justice and security. This sadly falls into the wrong hands which is the driving force of the entire No Time To Die story.

No Time to Die: the ending, the villain and the very big surprise – discuss with spoilers | No Time To Die | The Guardian

Despite being a nearly three-hour-long film, No Time To Die miraculously keeps a nice and steady pace — containing very few moments that really dragged along which prevented it from being bland and boring.

Bond Meets His Match

No Time To Die: What We Know About Rami Malek's Safin So Far | Cinemablend

Next to Bond, one of the highlights of any 007 film is the central villain to the story. This installment focuses on Lyutsifer Safin played by the amazingly talented Rami Malek. I honestly had high expectations for the actor and I am glad that they were for the most part met. His performance was eerie enough to create a very cynical, haunting, and worthy adversary for Bond. Admittedly as well it may not have been the best villain from everyone that we have seen from the Daniel Craig Bond franchise — I still find Javier Bardem and Christoph Waltz as my personal favorites — but we cannot deny it, that Bond somehow met his match with Safin.

The similarities between Bond, Safin, and some of the other characters as well such as M and Madeline also add a great point of reflection for viewers. This isn’t just said in the movie but further exhibited in the choices and actions of the characters to really pinpoint the very thin line that divides strong principles from misguided visions of justice.

Safin's 'No Time To Die' Mask, Explained | Esquire UK

I have to be honest however that as a whole Malek’s performance felt very restrained The restraint can also be attributed to the sadistic qualities of Safin as a whole who increasingly becomes even more terrifying as he holds a child in his arm, prompting viewers to question his every move. There were some inconsistencies admittedly with the characterization that involved a questionable scene or two but in the end, his final move proves to be a game-changer which subtly answers some of the said loopholes to his character and nature.

Complementary Visuals

No Time to Die Ending Explained | Den of Geek

The cinematic experience through the visuals of this James Bond film doesn’t take a back seat and is given the same attention as the story. I am not just talking about the given which are the special effects, but the overall camera work and treatment gives way for the dramatic and action-packed sequences to really stand out and deliver. Of course, the introductory credits that felt like they were taken straight out of a music video are a full-on euphoric and aesthetic indulgence that is paired perfectly with a Billie Eilish track. The true highlight in my most humble opinion however comes in the form of the last few battle scenes towards the end that resembles camera movements and angles straight out from a video game. Add the great lighting and amazing sound editing to that and what viewers get is a mind-blowing treat that elevates the perfectly timed and choreographed action sequences.

A Perfect Ending for Bond and Craig?

A Weary Daniel Craig Bids Farewell to James Bond in No Time to Die | Vanity Fair

We have come to the end, literally, of the Daniel Craig James Bond franchise and must now unravel the ending. The ending is admittedly very controversial because it is unlike anything we have witnessed for the character which leaves the future also uncertain. I personally saw the demise of the character coming — it was an idea that I thought was very much likely to occur. The manner with how it was achieved however was just utterly heartbreaking. It gave a depressing outcome for the character but one that showcased his innermost desires and values. It simultaneously destroys and redeems Bond entirely from a cold-hearted, ego-centric, and selfish man to one who would actually give everything for those that he cares for.

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My journey in understanding this choice for the film’s epic conclusion became all the more interesting when I discovered that Craig himself wanted this to occur as early as Casino Royal.

“When I started as Bond on Casino Royale, one of the early discussions I had with [producers] Barbara [Broccoli] and Michael [G Wilson] was that I would like to be killed off when I am finished,” said Daniel Craig.

This, in my most humble opinion, showed how invested the actor really was with the character to provide such an important and controversial detail which has also created a core-shaking effect for the future Bond films.

No Time To Die Review Final Verdict

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I enjoyed the journey that Daniel Craig took us on and to be honest this last film has left me feeling a bit sentimental but completely satisfied as well. It may not be the best Bond film in their repertoire but No Time To Die is still a must-watch film for the bold risks that it took which very much paid off in the end. Ultimately I believe they gave justice to the character in an unexpected, innovative and provocative manner.

We recommend that you watch No Time To Die which is currently in cinemas in the Philippines and trust us the big screen and surround sound makes the experience a hundred time better.

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