James Bond saves the world from COVID! In a bit of irony, the villain, played by Rami Malek, decides to unleash a biological weapon on the world. What better film to have audiences go back to than one about a terrorist trying to spread a pandemic? Jokes aside, Daniel Craig’s farewell to James Bond is a heartfelt and thrilling experience best experienced on the big screen.
I’m usually not a James Bond fan. Not to say I dislike the character. As a kid, I was a fan of Odd Job, whistled the Goldfinger song, saw Goldeneye once in the theater, but endlessly played the game along with some later 007 games. Still, something seemed off about Bond. As a child, I couldn’t intellectualize it until later. It’s his shallowness.
The ultimate male fantasy of mass murder being rewarded with lust didn’t appeal to me. There’s no flaw to him. He’s a porcelain doll with no soul. It wasn’t until Daniel Craig took the helm of the role in Casino Royale where the franchise began to add some much-needed depth to Mr. Bond.
This Bond film starts very differently than any of the other 007 flicks I have ever seen. There’s no heroics from Mr. Bond or a thrilling action sequence. It’s more of a scene from a horror film introducing the audience to Rami Malek’s disfigured Lyutsifer Safin. Here we have a very personal connection to the film’s antagonist that links to James’ trauma. Guilt, anger, remorse, uncontrollable rage, this is a James Bond I like. One with flaws. He has semi-supernatural abilities but is still nonetheless a man with problems. It might be my naiveté in the franchise, but I think Daniel Craig has performed an admirable service in portraying my personal favorite James Bond.
Bond being the prototypical male, Craig brings a level of pain to the character I haven’t previously witnessed. He’s not winking at the camera like Pierce Brosnan or Roger Moore. Nor does he seem like an abusive boyfriend like Sean Connery was. When looking into Mr. Craig’s very blue eyes, there’s a deadliness to his scrawl that appropriately doesn’t fit his pupal’s dreaminess. It’s believable that this man could kill someone. He’s dangerous but far from heartless—the perfect mixture of calm and violent.
The cast does a mostly remarkable job. Ralph Fines brings a consciousness ridden with guilt to M, which given the plot, it’s appropriate. Lashana Lycn is a fantastic 00 companion who possesses a sleekness that makes her the perfect equal to Bond worthy of the prestigious 007 title. Rami Malek is going to give your kids nightmares. He’s the kind of crazy guy who speaks incredibly soft, but you know, will blow at any moment. Returning to the cast is Léa Seydoux portraying James’ true love after Vesper Lynd (Eva Green) died.
No Time to Die, as you could imagine, is a movie about loss. The cheesy title serves its purpose for the film’s theme. Grief is pain, and that agony is something James can share with his enemy. The difference in how each man copes. Rami Malek’s character chooses to let the world share his pain, where James wants to keep people from feeling it. That subtext is the type of juice I enjoy more than any action sequence.
Yes, there’s action here, but none of it is spectacular. It’s certainly not bad like it was with Quantum of Solace’s frantic cutting. If a story is good, the action won’t matter much. The standard conventions of a Bond film are still here. There’s the ticking time bomb, the woman and the neat gadgets, but arguing about conventions used in a James Bond film is silly. I thank everyone from Casino Royale (even Quantum of Solace, although I’m not too fond of it) for taking James Bond seriously. The dimensionality brought to Mr. Bond is a trend I hope continues. Before the credits roll, you will be expected to cry.
When the film comes out I hope that you’ll probably agree with my rating.