Starting in 2006 with Casino Royale, and four movies on, Daniel Craig brings his portrayal of 007 to a thunderous crescendo in No Time to Die.
James Bond has become real, he falls in love and he cries.
Starting back in 1962 when Ursula Andress emerged from the surf in Dr No, the Bond franchise has grown into the cinematic global phenomenon it is today.
Craig is a major contributor to that success and he has given himself and Barbara Broccoli a very healthy bank balance in the process.
‘Worth the wait’
With just one scary similarity to what has happened in the world during the last two years, the plot is as daft as all other Bond films, but it is has been worth the wait.
After an 18-month delay the cinema was packed with after-work singletons punctuating their journey home and just itching to get their latest Bond fix like me.
After 17 years Craig is somewhat craggier looking but an absolute natural in the role.
The cinematography is sublime and we also get to meet the first female black 007 with Lashana Lynch as Bond’s accomplice.
Is this a sign of things to come? I don’t think so. You can have a female Dr Who but certainly not a James Bond. Right? I agree with Piers Morgan on that one.
The stunts are as incredible as ever with the classic Aston Martin DB5 making a beautiful return to the screen with machine gun headlights mowing down the baddies in time honoured Bond fashion.
The main baddie is Rami Malek playing Safin, a man with an understandable vendetta. I expected Malek to start singing Bohemian Rhapsody any second as his Safin doesn’t touch the genius of his Freddie Mercury.
The movie starts with Bond enjoying a serene existence in Jamaica after retiring from MI6 active service.
His old CIA pal Felix Leiter shows up and asks for help to trace MI6 scientist Valdo Obruchev.
Obruchev has created Project Heracles, a bio weapon that spreads like a virus upon touch. Remember this script was written pre-Covid.
The plot moves on from there with style, boldness, pathos and high drama.
Christophe Waltz returns with a masterful cameo of Bond’s arch enemy and Ben Whishaw’s Q the Quartermaster is as witty as ever.
With Blofeld, bionic eyes, Spectre, and Moneypenny all woven into the plot, this is a fitting and classic swansong for Daniel Craig.
Cary Joji Fukunaga’s direction of the action sequences make it a Bond classic.
The biggest challenge for Broccoli now is how she will replace Craig.
Like trying to follow Connery, it will be difficult if not impossible.
At two hours and 43 minutes, No time to Die is a long film, but it was worth every ‘money penny’ of the £16 entry price. Is it a Bond masterpiece? Yes. 10/10.
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