Bond 25: No Time to Die

One day when I was at work, the son of one of my late residents mentioned James Bond movies and we started sharing our excitement about “the next Bond film.”

We lamented the fact that it would be Daniel Craig’s last time playing Bond. I was very happy because I’d heard that Daniel Craig had requested that Phoebe Waller-Bridge be hired to punch up the script. (At the time, she was riding a wave of praise after “Fleabag” won every award for which it was nominated.)

Then we made a vow to see it together.

Two years later, we did.

I purposely didn’t read a lot about No Time to Die after it was released because I didn’t want to cheat myself out of the enjoyment of watching everything unfold without prejudice. I noted the five-star review in The Guardian but I didn’t read anything under the headline.

I did listen to the “My Mum Has Seen a Movie” podcast when I knew No Time to Die was being reviewed because I trusted Rob and his mum not to share any spoilers. They didn’t. They also weren’t crazy about the film.

Back in the Bad Old Days I cut this picture out of a magazine and hung it in my call center cubicle between Kate Winslet and Gwen Stefani.

I didn’t care. I don’t listen to the podcast for their reviews—I only listen to it to hear his mother laugh and cuss in her Liverpool accent and throw out some common sense ridicule at the world’s celluloid heroes from time to time.

You may be wondering if I’m stalling because I’m reluctant to deliver spoilers or bad news about Bond film #25.

Not really.

It was terrific. Daniel Craig was amazing. Lea Seydoux was fine. Rami Malek was creepy AF. Christoph Waltz’s appearance was memorable without being overpowering. There was a character with a glass eye and a bad attitude who kept making me say, “Oh my God! Are you kidding?” because every time he appeared I’d been under the impression that he’d already been killed in some previous scene.

There were echoes of all the other Daniel Craig Bond films scattered throughout. There were some unexpected deaths. And some true surprises.

I regret that I didn’t see or hear any trace of Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s script doctoring at any time during the film. Ana de Armas as the partner for Bond in the big party scene was stunning, and I think she’s going to start popping up in movies with great regularity. (I had forgotten she was in Knives Out! with Daniel Craig. And she was amazing in that, too.)

When I saw Ralph Fiennes as M I was thinking how much more I would have enjoyed seeing Judi Dench again—or Gary Oldman? Why didn’t Gary Oldman play M? I wonder if they asked him and he said no? Am I thinking Gary Oldman is a better actor than he really is?

Anyway. What was I talking about?

Oh yeah. No Time to Die.

I laughed. I cried. “It was much better than Cats. I’ll see it again and again.”

I might revisit a few of the previous Daniel Craig Bond films, probably with the sadness of knowing he’ll never be in another one. This means I’ve probably seen my last James Bond movie. The only replacement for Bond that could make me go back to the theater is Jodie Comer. (I won’t be holding my breath for that.)

Bottom line: I left the cinema much happier than I was when I went into the cinema, and that was because I’d finally seen No Tume to Die. After planning to see it for two years.

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