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Review No Time to Die (2021): One of the better Bond films featuring Daniel Craig!

genre: action, adventure, espionage

Since Goldeneye I have been able to watch each part that came after except No Time to Die (2021). I wanted to, but because of COVID and the hassle surrounding the measures, I really didn't feel like going to the cinema at all. Another huge factor why I didn't feel the need is my Home Cinema setup. A 100 inch projection screen combined with a 4K projector provides me an excellent cinematic experience. So when the 4K version got released as a premium rental, you can understand I was overjoyed to watch it in the comforts of my own home.

And compared to Spectre, No Time to Die, certainly is an improvement overall. Almost all the issues I had with that one have been addressed. Sort of. I mean, I didn't really expect them to be able to fix everything. At least it was nice to see some effort was put into this project. Like in Spectre, Craig as Bond is at his best. A real joy to watch! Most surprising was Léa Seydoux as Madeleine. In Spectre, I didn't feel anything for her character. In this one, I was rooting for her all the way. Even calling out Bond for being such an idiot for his actions at one point. This time they really took the time to set up Madeleine the right way. The strong opening helps enormously to give you the much-needed insight and background that was missing. The horror touch works well, even when it does raise certain questions which barely get answered.

The one fear I and many other fans had been the introduction of Nomi as 007. Naturally, in an age where political correctness and feminism has destroyed many properties already, it's understandable that people were concerned. Not that I am against a female agent. To be honest, as far as I am concerned, I would have been perfectly fine with her being an important agent and having prominence now and in the future. However, as THE replacement for Bond, doesn't make much sense. It would have been different has she been part of the franchise longer and then just stepped in since Bond retired.  But even then it wouldn't be the same. James Bond is such an iconic figure, you can't just change up things about the character because times have changed. A large part of the appeal are the trademark elements attached to the character. If you change them, the character will lose that appeal. In any case, Nomi is a fine addition and I am looking forward to seeing what they are going to do with her. 

There is another character who had a brief but strong appearance. Ana de Armas as Paloma. Together with Bond, the Cuba scenes were probably the most Bondesque moments of the film or even the franchise. These are the scenes I have replayed many times already and never get tired of. In large part because of her. She showcases quite a lot in such a short time. So much so that I was a bit sad to see her go. In hindsight, though, she might have taken away from Madeleine's story, so it does make sense for her not to appear in the rest of the film. 

No Time to Die has a few surprises in store, some good and some real bad ones. Don't worry, I won't spoil anything. But one in particular is something I still have trouble processing. It's one of the reasons why I was unable to write this review earlier. Just because it's one that has huge consequences. I will say that it's something I don't really like, even if I kind of understand why they have done it. For Craig, it makes sense. For everything else, it certainly doesn't. Especially since the writers and producers have backed themselves in a corner. We'll see what the future brings. But if you ask me, they shouldn't have gone this route in the first place.

Overall, No Time to Die is one of the better Bond films featuring Daniel Craig, but I am sure it will also be the one that will upset the fans the most. For people who normally don't watch films like these, it's entertaining. Mrs. P. absolutely gets bored out of her mind watching espionage action flicks. However, she managed to stay awake and even admit that she had fun watching. In that regard, No Time to Die might be the most accessible Bond films to non fans.

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