To its credit, this two-hour, 43-minute film (thus making the title a bit of a lie) establishes what recent Bond films have in the way that earlier incarnations generally didn’t. This has deepened the character, allowing Bond to experience grief, loss, and love without pressing the reset button, albeit a repetition of the villainous Blofeld.
Directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga (“True Detective”), this Bond notices his grand storytelling ambitions, with perhaps the longest pre-credits sequence in memory, both of the mysterious new villains (played by Rami Malek, by Peter Lorre). starring) and introduce both. Finding Bond happily retired.
Of course, his post-service happiness cannot last, as both M (Ralph Fiennes) and his CIA friend Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright) attempt to bring him back on a mission that involves a terrifying bioweapon (perhaps the most Not a Good Time (that particular plot) and her old nemesis in Specter, bringing back Madeleine Swan (Lee Seydoux) and now-imprisoned Blofeld (Christophe Waltz) from that 2015 film.
Bond also finds his slot in MI6 occupied by a new agent (Lashana Lynch), who has inherited his 007 license. Yet while Lynch makes a strong addition, their feud is relatively weak, and only adds to the abundance of moving parts that a more complex plot than usual has to serve.
An underlying theme is that the world has changed—certainly since the Cold War period in which the character was born—to combine and make it, as Leiter put it, “it’s hard to tell the good from the bad.” However, that measure of complexity hasn’t increased the formula built on world-threatening villains and muscular action.
Still, “No Time To Die” seems like it’s trying too hard to provide Craig with a dispatch worthy of all the hype associated with it—an addition that, in short, ultimately took too long to arrive. The tax can be said to be over.
“No Time to Die” premieres in US theaters on October 8. It has got PG-13 rating.