I don’t review every film I see, but this one begged for it on the grounds that the main character in my Five Kingdoms series (Rustam Chalice) was born out of my frustration that Bond was never allowed to grow as a character.
NO TIME TO DIE is Daniel Craig’s last Bond film, and someone has listened to me! Finally Bond is allowed to become a person, with emotions and needs/desires. Instead of the usual casual fling (more often than not, ending with a dead woman), and a plot that involves plenty of action but not a lot of character depth, this film has it all.
It opens with Bond in a relationship (wow!), with Madeleine Snow who, unlike most Bond girls, survived the previous film. Cue nasty events, loss of trust, and a parting of the ways, and Bond goes off the grid. MI6 believe he is dead, and re-allocate the 007 status to a new, young agent: ferociously competent young black woman, Nomi. When the current 007 crosses paths with the former 007, courtesy of Bond’s old CIA friend, Felix Leiter, things kick off in predictably spectacular fashion.
All the usual ingredients are present: fabulous scenery and innovative vehicles, a deranged baddie wielding a super weapon (a scarily plausible DNA-targeted poison, delivered by nanobots), a mad scientist, car and motorcycle chases in both city and forest settings, guns, bombs, Q’s latest invention that just happens to come up trumps, and a privately owned island brimming with villains. But on top of this, Bond is forced to deal once more with Madeleine, who is integral to the main plot.
For the first time, a Bond film is populated by strong women who hold their own with our eponymous hero, and none of them dies! We are treated to a side of Bond we’ve never before been permitted to see (aside from once, briefly, back in the early days in ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’, when he was briefly married, before the lovely Tracey was killed moments after the ceremony). Bond actually cares for someone, and although he succeeds in wrapping up this last mission in his usual style, Craig bows out of his tenure as Bond with an ending that is both poignant and satisfactory.
No spoilers from me, but I will say, having just finished writing Rustam’s story, shortly before seeing No Time To Die, there are some incredible parallels to the endings of both my series, and Daniel Craig’s Bond.
If you’ve not seen it, I highly recommend it.