“No Time to Die” Review: Mediocrity at Its Best

Daniel Craig as James Bond, Nicola Dove/MGM (Obtained through Variety)

By: Rochelle O’Donnell // Contributing Writer

The self-proclaimed “grumpy Bond” returns for his final outing as James Bond this October in “No Time to Die” after being one of the first movies to be postponed due to the pandemic. 

Accompanied by a few familiar faces like Jeffery Wright’s Felix and Ben Whishaw’s Q, as well as some noteworthy additions, super-spy James Bond, played by Daniel Craig, faces a new enemy in Rami Malek’s Safin, who’s bent on saving the world through utilizing nanobot technology for mass genocide –you know, just the usual. 

Though this movie was densely packed with stunt sequences that were constantly a joy to watch, I left the theatre feeling a bit empty. 

As someone who loves more content but lambasts most movies for having a third act that drags (*cough, cough* Marvel), “No Time to Die” felt admittedly concise, which for a nearly three hour movie is saying something pretty significant. 

But generally, its most fatal flaw is the weariness of Bond himself. 

Craig, doing only what he can at this point, is visibly tired with a character that can’t be built on much further. There’s a kind of overt stoicism in this character that can come off at some points as one-note, especially when compared to the efforts of new supporting cast members like Lashana Lynch and Ana de Armas. 

As easily one of the biggest letdowns, Malek’s performance fell flat for such an accolades-drenched actor. There was nothing even broadly compelling about Safin. He was constructed as a fill-in-the-blanks villain, outfitted with his own evil private island. 

The direction and cinematography were as stunning as you would expect a $250 million movie (in low estimates) to be. Always set behind brilliant landscapes, Cary Joji Fukunaga’s modest pacing and efficient use of blocking keeps the movie visually engaging, but that just isn’t enough when its substance is simply overly-contrived and predictable. 

When viewed as a standalone adventure, “No Time to Die” lacks the intrigue or mystery that should come with the world’s most infamous secret agent, replacing it with something that feels like a formulaic afterthought instead of a proper send-off. 

But then again, maybe that’s just the baggage that comes with writing for the character who set those contrivances in the first place.

Rating: Not a bad way to spend 163 minutes, but don’t expect the plot to stick with you. 7/10 

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