At long last...
After delays, COVID, more delays, this past weekend saw Daniel Craig back on the big screen as James Bond in "No Time To Die"; purportedly his last venture as Bond, James Bond. I really do not know what this film holds as I walk into the theater, beyond the knowledge that Madeline is back, Blofeld is back, Felix Lighter is back, M, Q, and Moneypenny are back, and some new villains await.
How will they handle Daniel Craig's exit as Bond? Will they do what they've done before and just ignore it, knowing someone else will pick up the mantle as The World's Greatest Spy? Or will they do something new, imaginative, shocking?
Well, if you read on, I am going to spoil it for you.
Beware!! Run now if you don't want the film spoiled for you!!!
The opening shot...
Always entertaining, always exciting. From The Spy Who Loved Me and jumping off a cliff while skiing and opening a parachute emblazoned with the British flag to Craig killing his second person as a 00 in Casino Royale, this sets the tone for what's to follow.
This film opens with Bond and Madeline deeply in love and future plans being made. Bond? Serious about a woman? Not since On Her Majesty's Secret Service has this occurred. And we know what happened there...
So, we watch and wonder. Then as Bond is going to forgive Vesper (Casino Royale) at Madeline's request he is attacked and almost killed in an explosion. One facet I truly enjoyed here is they made you feel like it happened to you: most explosions go BOOM! then the action and sound return immediately. Not here. All sound is muffled like you have hearing loss and damage, unable to hear anything properly. A nice added extra; very lifelike. Well done.
Then, he's off and in chase after someone he saw running from the scene. A spectacular motorcycle jump, some truly exciting chase scenes and suddenly, he's alone in that special DB-5 with Madeline, demanding to know how they knew he was going to be there. She pleads her innocence yet he is unmoved: he puts her on a train and tells her she will never see him again.
So much for riding off into the sunset with the girl as I wondered after S.P.E.C.T.R.E.
Five years later...
We find Bond has retired. Yes, retired. He no longer works for MI6 or Her Majesty. He is enjoying life on the outside, fishing, relaxing, drinking, drinking, drinking. Felix Lighter comes calling and invites him to play a game of good guys bad guys one more time to help the CIA out. Initially he declines, then reconsiders and accepts.
Then, we find out that there is a new 007. A woman. Yes, not James Bond but 007 nonetheless. And she is working against the CIA!
Fight scene. Chase scene. Escape scene. People dead all over, things blowing up, and Bond manages to escape with the person he was after for the CIA.
Then, things take a turn.
It turns out that M had been hiding a little secret of his own: a very specific killing apparatus developed by MI6 in hiding. This nanobot technology has the ability to identify and kill a specific person. Delivery can be hand to hand, a person has it placed on their skin and it is non-lethal to them, but instantaneously lethal to the person it was designed to kill.
Did I mention that it singlehandedly took out SPECTRE? Yep, the chemist changed DNA samples and instead of killing someone else, it killed every person in SPECTRE. Every. Single. One.
Except Blofeld, who is in prison.
Then, the super villain is revealed.
It turns out we know this villain as he was in the opening scenes with a young Madeline. He killed her mother because her father killed his entire family. Revenge is sweet. And yet, when he had Madeline in his sights and she is running away and falls into the ice covered pond near her home, rather than kill her he saves her.
And now he shows up years later to demand she deliver this toxin to Blofeld to complete his revenge. She balks, but he blackmails her into it.
How? She has a child. Yes, a child. And whose child is it? I'll give you three guesses.
James Bond has a child. Oh my God.
She reluctantly agrees and takes the spray onto her wrist before meeting Blofeld. She just happens to be his psychologist (convenient, no?). She meets Bond in the hallway going to see Blofeld and they enter together, but he sees she is trembling badly. She then begs off and Bond grabs her hand before she leaves.
You know what happened, right?
The end of Blofeld.
Yes, James has it on him now, and when he grabs Blofeld, it kills him. Blofeld is now dead, as is every person associated with SPECTRE. So, who's going to trouble Bond?
Enter Rami Malek as Lyutsifer Safin, the deranged man from the beginning and the man who blackmailed Madeline. And so, now begins a battle between Bond and Safin on an island that is manufacturing more of this toxin, with the intent of having it dispersed worldwide.
Another mad man scheme to dominate the world.
Safin reminded me of someone and it finally hit me: Dr. No. Same type of look, same type of distanced manner of speaking, even a pool of acid growing things. Hmmm.
The Final Battle
The battle to save Madeline, his child and the world is a rough one on Bond. The new 007 is there to assist, and she helps to get Bond's family off the island. He has to stay behind to open the blast doors so missiles can penetrate the interior and destroy every vestige of this deadly toxin. He gets them open and is running to escape when...
The doors begin to close. What! Of course, Safin.
Another battle ensues and as Safin is dying he scratches Bond on the face. Then, we learn how deadly this scratch is. And to whom.
Nanobots have entered his system and will kill his child if he but touches her. Now we are wondering if he can stay away from her, or how he will make this work.
Instead he chooses something I did not see coming and I am pissed about. He remains on the island as the missiles rain down on him. He dies.
What the $@%&!?!?!?
James Bond dies? DIES??? Bond??? Never in my wildest dreams did I see this coming. I knew Craig wasn't going to be back, but Bond always survives, right? Right?
Not this time. I sat in the theater until every other person had left. My son, who had seen it with me, had gone to use the restroom after sitting there for three hours, and returned to find me still sitting in my seat.
I do not know what to say. Did I like it? Was I happy? Where does it stand in the history of Bond films? Where does it go from here?
I do not know. It has been two days now and I still do not know how I feel about this film. Were parts of it good? Absolutely. Was it a good addition to the legacy? Yes, until you killed the lead!
My son enjoyed it, placing it below Skyfall and above SPECTRE in his Daniel Craig lineup of Bond films. Me? I truly do not know.
I have loved Bond for half a century and to see this happen? It broke my heart. I don't know if I can see this film again. My son and I watched Skyfall and Casino Royale again yesterday and I was fine with them, but this one hurts, badly.
So, where next?
I do not know where they go from here. Is this the final Bond film? Society is banding together to demand a Black bond, a female Bond, a change in his misogynistic ways and an updating to the modern world. I see no reason why Bond should become Black, female or anything other than what he was written as and has been for almost sixty years. I hope they do not replace him with anyone else and this is the end on Bond, James Bond.
But I could also see them moving forward with the female Black 007 who appeared in this film also. Or perhaps a film series about MI6 itself, detailing different agents who interact with one another much like Marvel has done with characters appearing briefly in films led by other characters, thus creating a new world of spies and films. Leave Bond as he is, a man who used women and finally realized that he loved Madeline and their child enough to sacrifice his life for theirs. This realization should be the end note for the character. Let him lie.
Bring on the new spies, new stories, new characters. Set up new storylines for them to pursue and save the world. Let's see if they succeed half as well as James Bond has in keeping our fascination with him alive over sixty years.
I don't think they will, do you?
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Mr Archer
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on October 13, 2021:
We will look forward to seeing this Bond film in the future. We have seen all the other ones, and have even re-watched some of the older ones occasionally.
MG Singh emge from Singapore on October 12, 2021:
I liked this article. Bond is my favorite character and I am looking forward to watching the latest movie.
Ken Burgess from Florida on October 12, 2021:
I believe you understand too well why Bond, representing the Patriarchy and the old ways, had to die.... "a Black bond, a female Bond, a change in his misogynistic ways and an updating to the modern world. "
Its a New World Order being shaped by Social Justice and Critical Race Theory... there is no place in it for James Bond.
Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on October 12, 2021:
Usually I like action movies, but I've never been a big Bond fan. I might have seen two of them over the years, and that was more curiosity than desire. :)
Liz Westwood from UK on October 12, 2021:
I would like to see this film, having seen all the others. The Bond franchise is an iconic one for sure. Although I saw a headline today that takings at the box office were down on predictions. I am putting this down to Covid fear rather than any Bond deficiencies.