‘No Time to Die’: What the Critics Are Saying

The latest James Bond adventure, “No Time to Die,” was supposed to hit theaters in April 2020. The pandemic hit instead, and the film’s release was postponed more than once. But on Tuesday the 25th installment in the franchise had a splashy world premiere in London.

On hand were 007 himself, Daniel Craig; his co-stars Léa Seydoux (as Madeleine Swann, the love interest), Ana de Armas, Lashana Lynch and Rami Malek; the filmmakerCary Joji Fukunaga, the first American to direct a Bond film; and Billie Eilish, who wrote the title song. Also in attendance were Prince William with Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge; and Prince Charles with Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall; along with the film’s producers, Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson.

Just as important, critics finally got a look at the movie, which will reach multiplexes on Oct. 8. Here is a roundup of what they’re saying:

A Callback to Dr. No: “Craig’s final film as the diva of British intelligence is an epic barnstormer, with the script from Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, with Phoebe Waller-Bridge delivering pathos, action, drama, camp comedy (Bond will call M ‘darling’ in moments of tetchiness), heartbreak, macabre horror, and outrageously silly old-fashioned action in a movie which calls to mind the world of Dr. No on his island. Director Cary Fukunaga delivers it with terrific panache, and the film also shows us a romantic Bond, an uxorious Bond, a Bond who is unafraid of showing his feelings, like the old softie he’s turned out to be.” — Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

Unafraid of Risks: Craig “invests the role with more emotion, power and style in a movie that not only marks a milestone as the 25th time around but also one not afraid to take some twists, turns and, yes, risks in a long-delayed entertainment that sees James Bond not only out to save the world from evil forces again but perhaps, in these Covid times, the theatrical exhibition business itself.” — Pete Hammond, Deadline.com

Too Much Time to Die: “In terms of Bond staples, the movie does deliver some impressive chases and action sequences, with Ana de Armas (Craig’s ‘Knives Out’ co-star) adding another dose of female empowerment during a mission that takes Bond to Cuba. Still, ‘No Time to Die’ feels as if it’s working too hard to provide Craig a send-off worthy of all the hype associated with it — an excess that might be summed up as simply, finally, by taking too much time to reach the finish.” — Brian Lowry, CNN

An Improvement Over “Spectre”: Fukunaga “gives the film a visceral immediacy that’s quite different from the previous outings — and script contributions from Phoebe Waller-Bridge have certainly beefed up the female characters, with Craig’s ‘Knives Out’ co-star Ana de Armas brilliant as a newly qualified C.I.A. agent he encounters in Cuba and Seydoux’s character given the sort of complex arc and no-nonsense attitude that was sorely lacking in ‘Spectre.’” — Alistair Harkness, The Scotsman

The Key Is Craig: “More traditional 007 fans may wish for the action to move forward with more pace — at 163 minutes, this is the longest Bond in the canon — and each set-piece has certain hermetic quality, like a stand-alone episode, such as that pre-credit sequence in Matera, or the visit to Cuba in which Ana de Armas shines as agent Paloma. What holds it all together is Craig, given some longer speeches and passages of performance the like of which I can’t recall a Bond previously delivering.” — Jason Solomons, The Wrap

A More Emotional Bond: “Craig’s maturity shows in his emotions. He’s still confident and aggressive, but erratic and quick to anger. He’s never been more vulnerable — nor, really, has the character — than he is here. He’s also accompanied by three very different Bond girls: Alongside Madeleine, who becomes a therapist, there’s MI6 agent Nomi, Lashana Lynch, and Ana de Armas as a C.I.A. agent who’s ‘had three weeks training.’ All three are terrific and bring out varied shades in brooding Craig.” — Johnny Oleksinski, The New York Post

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