Maybe one of these times Bond’ll manage
to keep that Aston Martin in one piece.
Hey everybody, welcome to Mainely Movies.
Today we’re gonna be continuing my 007 review
series with the 25th James Bond film: 2021’s
No Time to Die.
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No Time to Die stars Daniel Craig, Léa Seydoux,
and Rami Malek and was directed by Cary Joji
It tells the story of James Bond, played by
Daniel Craig, as he comes out of retirement
to help Felix Leiter with one last mission…
only to be pulled into the spy game once again.
Just shy of the franchise’s 60th anniversary,
we get our 25th official Bond film.
And I’ve got to say, it’s a movie that
feels like a fitting candidate for such a
It’s a good movie – not great, but the quality
of the film isn’t the only qualifier here.
It’s also what it
characters, and the franchise in general.
This film manages to be both typical and atypical
at the same time… and at multiple levels,
not only for the Craig-era, but also for the
franchise as a whole.
For nearly 50 years of its existence, the
Bond franchise wasn’t particularly concerned
There’s the obvious revolving door of actors
playing the same handful of characters over
the years – Q, M, Moneypenny, Felix Leiter,
Blofeld, and of course Bond himself.
But less obvious is the story continuity.
There was the occasional connective reference,
but this franchise was more of a collection
of serialized adventures than it was a proper
But that changed with the Craig-era and its
soft reboot of the story.
The films directly tied to one another.
Characters popped up across multiple movies,
motivations and story arcs were necessary
for understanding what was happening; with
Spectre revealing the true depth of all of
No Time to Die is a continuation of that pattern;
as much a direct sequel to Spectre as Quantum
of Solace was to Casino Royale.
Unlike the pick and choose nature of early
Bonds, this film hinges on its predecessor.
You could get away with not knowing the details
of Spectre’s story, but you need to understand
the character history for any real impact
So, this sense of continuity is typical for
the Craig-era and atypical for the franchise
as a whole, but what else?
The action here also falls into those same
The Craig-era has arguably been the most action
packed Bond era and this film continues that
trend, delivering some pretty big and well-done
There’s a good deal of action throughout
the movie, but I think the most exciting and
best executed occurs during the extended pre-title
Even though the trailer showed us a lot of
this action, I still thought it was incredibly
Foot chases, motorcycle chases, car chases
and gadgets, hand-to-hand combat, shoot outs,
explosions – this sequence has got all that
Like its immediate predecessor, No Time to
Die leads with its big pre-title action set
piece, but luckily this film has a number
of equally exciting sequences throughout to
keep you entertained and exhilarated the whole
From a plot perspective, I think No Time to
Die Falls more on the typical side of things.
There are a lot of unique story choices which
I’ll vaguely talk about later, but the basic
overarching story is made up of a combination
of things we’ve seen many times in this
franchise and other spy franchises.
We’ve got the coming out of retirement thing,
the butting heads with leadership thing, betrayal,
espionage, revelations – the usual.
Even the main villain of the story, Safin,
with his take over the world plot and slow,
almost poetic line delivery.
He’s an interesting mash-up of the campier
early Bond villains and the more dramatic
and deliberate Craig-era villains.
He’s alright, but fairly underutilized here
so I don’t think he’s going to go down
as a particularly memorable Bond villain.
Luckily, Bond himself will go down as slightly
more memorable here.
We’ve seen Daniel Craig‘s Bond evolve
quite a bit over the years.
He began Casino Royale as a cocky, newly promoted
He’s been through heartache, betrayal, and
loss, Dangerous missions, professional trouble.
We’ve learned about his past in both Skyfall
We’ve seen him as the hardened, affective
agent, but we’ve also seen him vulnerable
It’s been speculated for some time now that
this would be Craig’s last time putting
on the suit and with the official announcement
about the search for the next Bond, that was
officially confirmed ahead of No Time to Die’s
Last films haven’t always been the best
for previous Bonds.
George Lazenby and Timothy Dalton are special
cases, but everybody else had relatively weak
This is a strong one for Craig and his most
emotional turn yet.
In fact, this may be Bond’s most emotional
turn in franchise history, surpassing even
Lazenby‘s Bond in On Her Majesty’s Secret
And that leads us to what makes No Time to
Die such a fitting choice for the number 25
Because for all of its typical choices, this
film makes even more atypical ones.
It’s not afraid to shake things up after
59 years and gives us things we’ve never
seen, and perhaps never expected, from a Bond
The extent to which these choices work will
vary depending on the viewer, but there’s
no denying that this is a bold film.
I’m being intentionally very vague here
since this is a spoiler free review, but there
are so many things we’ve never seen before.
Circumstances and events, the people surrounding
Bond, even the characterization of Bond himself.
From a professional standpoint, Bond is dealing
with something very new at MI6 – demographically
speaking, but also in terms of the functionality
of the 00 program.
And on a personal level, there are also things
we’ve never seen regarding both Bond’s
relationships with the people around him as
well as the choices he makes as a result of
those professional and personal elements.
Like I said before, No Time to Die isn’t
a great movie, but it’s certainly a good
It carries on the legacy of the franchise,
but also introduces new ideas that have the
potential to change how we look at Bond and
the franchise going forward.
This movie leaves me with a lasting curiosity.
Between these new ideas and the fact that
this was Craig’s announced final Bond film,
I’m curious to see what’s next.
Not only regarding who our seventh James Bond
is going to be, but also regarding the trajectory
of the franchise because we could potentially
be in for a whole new ballgame over the next
Alright, let’s talk about the pros and cons.
Pro number one is the action.
Given the era of the franchise that this film
falls under, this pro probably comes as no
The Craig Bonds have been exceptional when
it comes to their action and this is an attribute
that’s popped up in the pros of more than
one of his films.
Although not the pinnacle of the era’s action,
the sequences here are certainly impressive.
The film led off with an incredibly strong
pre-title sequence that incorporates chases,
fighting, gadgets, and explosions, but follows
through with that as the film progresses.
There’s plenty of emotional downtime here
too, so it’s not just a constant barrage
of action, but there’s more than enough
to keep action fans happy.
The second pro is how bold this film is.
It keeps with many of the traditions we expect
within the franchise, but it also takes a
number of big risks.
There are a lot of things we’ve never seen
in a Bond movie – things related to the story
and plot, to the characters, to the very framework
of the franchise.
It still feels like a Bond movie, but takes
certain things to places you might not expect.
Personally, I’m a little mixed on the individual,
specific bold choices.
Obviously, I can’t get into specifics here
without spoiling anything, so I’ll keep
I think some of the choices are welcome changes
or things that really worked for the multi-film
growth and arcs of certain characters, but
there were other choices that left me confused
But, regardless of my feelings on specific
choices, I think the overall bold approach
to a Bond film was a positive thing.
On the con side, the biggest issue was the
Now, I’ve got to say, I didn’t dislike
Safin as a character or even Rami Malek’s
The bulk of my issue here lies with the utilization
of the character.
He doesn’t really do much for the story.
He basically serves as a catalyst to get Bond
to a specific location.
And yes, his evil plan has the potential for
much wider consequences and there are a lot
of things that happen as a result of that
throughout the movie, but Safin as an individual
doesn’t really do much beyond being a mildly
unsettling, kind of creepy character.
There was potential there – he has a backstory
that could’ve been built upon in an interesting
way, but instead they use him and his backstory
as a way to develop another character instead.
It sort of works for that other character,
but does nothing for Safin, which kind of
makes him a bit of a nothing villain outside
of the scope of his evil scheme.
The second con is certainly more minor, but
it’s the multitude of dropped plot threads.
Although the story moves in a fairly logical
way, it does at times, feel a little all over
We’re introduced to a lot of ideas and some
new characters, but many of these new things
only have significance in the moment that
So they’re very important and relevant to
the story, but only for a brief amount of
time and then we just move on.
Probably the biggest and most frustrating
example of this is with the character of Paloma.
She’s really interesting and is super important
to a part of the story, but she just disappears
after that little segment.
It’s genuinely weird in the context of the
story, but also frustrating because she was
one of the most interesting characters and
I certainly would’ve liked to have seen
more of her.
Before I give you my rating and recommendations,
I want to remind you that if you’re interested
in buying No Time to Die or any of the films
I mentioned today, I do have affiliate links
for all of them in the description below.
I get a small commission from anything you
buy using one of my links, so I’d really appreciate
if you’d use them if you’re in the market
for any of these movies.
I’m gonna give No Time to Die 3.5 out of
This movie has a lot to like – it’s got
some great action, features Craig in his most
emotional turn as Bond, and is a pretty bold
film for the franchise.
It’s a high 3.5 for me, but there are certain
choices made in this movie that leave me feeling
a bit dissatisfied which prevent this one
from being more than a mid-tier Craig-era
film for me.
I would recommend No Time to Die, to fans
of the Craig-era.
This final Craig Bond continues the storyline
set up by its predecessors, so if you’ve
been engaged by those movies, you’ll definitely
want to see how things turn out here.
I’d also recommend this one to people who
like seeing a more emotional Bond or at least
a storyline that delves into more personal,
emotional topics for him – along the lines
of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service or even
If you liked No Time to Die, I would recommend
Spectre, the 24th film in the Bond franchise.
It’s the immediate predecessor of this film,
and unlike many Bond films of the past, actually
directly connects to this one with its story
If you liked the emotional elements of this
movie, you might want to check out the 6th
Bond film: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
It’s got a number of story thematic and
story similarities, plus No Time to Die draws
upon a key line of dialogue from this earlier
film and puts an important spin on it.
If you liked Safin or his villainous plot,
I’d suggest you check out the very first
James Bond movie: Dr. No.
There are some interesting similarities between
Safin and Dr. No, including their lairs and
aspects of the villain schemes.
But, there’s also a fun setting connection
when it comes to Bond spending some time in
Alright, a couple questions for you guys.
Number one: Have you seen No Time to Die?
If so, what’d you think of it?
And number two: What do you think is the most
surprising Bond film?
Be sure to leave your answers in the comments
below so we can get a discussion going.
Alright, so if you got some enjoyment, insight,
or information out of this review, I’d appreciate
it if you’d hit that like button.
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Till next time, this has been Alyssa with
Mainely Movies: The way life should be.