‘No Time to Die’ review: Daniel Craig bids farewell to 007 with a slightly bloated Bond film

One of many authentic theatrical casualties of the pandemic, MGM delayed the release of Craig’s fifth and last outing for 18 months, placing 15 years between his debut in “On line casino Royale” and this chapter. Whereas he hasn’t misplaced a step, his editions of Bond have by no means fairly equaled that dazzling introduction, and “No Time to Die” is not any exception.

To its credit score, this two hour, 43-minute film (thus making the title a little bit of a lie) assiduously builds on all the things that the latest Bond films have established, in a approach earlier incarnations typically did not. That has deepened the character, permitting Bond to expertise grief, loss and love with out hitting the reset button, the recurrence of the villainous Blofeld however.

Directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga (“True Detective”), this Bond serves discover of its grand storytelling ambitions with maybe the longest pre-credit sequence in reminiscence, each introducing the mysterious new villain (performed by Rami Malek, seemingly channeling Peter Lorre) and discovering Bond fortunately retired.

In fact, his post-service bliss cannot final, as M (Ralph Fiennes) and his CIA pal Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright) each endeavor to lure him again on a mission that entails a horrible bioweapon (possibly not the most effective time for that individual plot) and his outdated nemeses at Spectre, bringing again Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux) and the now-incarcerated Blofeld (Christoph Waltz) from that 2015 film.

Bond additionally finds his slot at MI6 having been ably occupied by a brand new agent (Lashana Lynch) who has inherited his 007 license. But whereas Lynch makes a powerful addition, their squabbling banter is comparatively weak, and merely provides to the abundance of shifting elements that the even more-convoluted-than-usual plot has to service.

An underlying theme is that the world has modified — actually from the Chilly Warfare interval during which the character was born — clouding alliances and making it, as Leiter muses, “arduous to inform good from dangerous.” That measure of complexity, nevertheless, hasn’t enhanced a method constructed on world-threatening villains and muscular motion.

By way of Bond staples, the film does ship some spectacular chases and motion sequences, with Ana de Armas (Craig’s “Knives Out” co-star) including one other dose of feminine empowerment throughout a mission that takes Bond to Cuba.

Nonetheless, “No Time to Die” feels as if it is working too arduous to offer Craig a sendoff worthy of all of the hype related to it — an extra that is perhaps summed up as merely, lastly, by taking an excessive amount of time to succeed in the end.

“No Time to Die” premieres in US theaters on Oct. 8. It is rated PG-13.

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