After multiple delays due to the pandemic, the latest James Bond film No Time to Die has finally hit theaters. Daniel Craig returns to his role as the titular character for the fifth film in his run in the franchise as the iconic agent embarks on yet another thrilling mission.
No Time to Die picks up with James Bond and Madeleine Swan’s (Léa Seydoux) whereabouts after the previous film Spectre. After a seeming betrayal from Madeleine at his former lover Vesper Lynd’s grave, Bond abandons his career as a spy to go into retirement. He gets back into the action after meeting new character Nomi (Lashana Lynch), the MI6 agent who took up the 007 mantle in his absence, which leads to him reuniting with Swan and others from his MI6 past as he uncovers a plot to unleash a dangerous bioweapon.
In true Bond fashion, this film featured enthralling action sequences that complemented a riveting plot. This film definitely keeps viewers engaged through its twists. Still, it’s worth noting that this film relies heavily on Spectre, so viewers who are not familiar with the previous film may be confused about the conflict presented in this film.
I appreciated how this film took time to explore Bond’s character, exposing his vulnerability through his relationship with Madeleine and Mathilde in a way that’s rare from leading men in action films. Bond seemed more humanized in this film, revealing a level of depth to the character while still remaining consistent with his past characterization.
I had the privilege to hear from the director Cary Joji and actor Lashana Lynch in a roundtable discussing the film.
“Every Bond film sort of reflects the era it’s in in some way or another,” Joji Fukunaga explained in a roundtable discussing the film, “It was important to us that the idea that the world has changed, especially since Spectre, at least be mentioned or talked about.” It’s important the films themselves continue to reflect that world but also Bond is not going to change with every film, he has to kind of be consistent with the character that’s been established from Casino Royale, for example, being the first in Daniel’s run, and it needs to feel like that character has a full arc, but that they’re not changing so much that it’s just a reaction.
I especially enjoyed how the women in this film were integral to the action as well as unique characters in their own right. Though Madeleine was the love interest, her purpose extended far beyond existing as an accessory for Bond; instead, she took charge of her narrative and was allowed to be caring while still showing her strength.
Nomi also stood out in this film through her charm and dedication, not to mention the skill that made her worthy of the 007 mantle. Discussing her character’s role, actress Lashana Lynch said, “you don’t have to really believe in everything that your characters believe in, but for someone like Nomi, I really wanted to stand by her, her morals and what her values and where she moves from by her core. For this I knew that she would help facilitate ushering in this new era — I think the franchise has done really well in reshaping how women are viewed and represented within the franchise.”
Bond is certainly challenged in this film, both in terms of the clashes he encounters as well as the emotional barriers he overcomes in learning to trust the others around him. Audiences see Bond learn to allow love into his life with Madeliene and Mathilde, while also accepting that he can rely on the others around him.
In regards to her character’s connection to Bond, Lynch detailed, “I think the relationship that Bond and Nomi have is really special because you get to see how a younger agent gets to learn from an older agent, not to put his age into it, but also how this Black woman is able to navigate her way through MI6, up a 00 program to the position that she’s in, and still have someone like Bond who knows practically everything respond to her in a way that helps her want to give more in her work and also want to give more in her movie.”
Without giving too much away, the conclusion of the film was a touching farewell to Daniel Craig’s Bond, as he is stepping away from his iconic role after this film. No Time to Die honors the long running franchise while also existing as a unique exploration into the beloved character that Bond is. Viewers won’t be disappointed by this fitting ending to a beloved story.
No Time to Die was released to theaters on Oct. 8.
Aditi Hukerikar is a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences. She can be reached at [email protected].