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James Bond finally returns to our screens after many setbacks and pushbacks on release date owing to the pandemic. In No Time to Die, we say goodbye to Daniel Craig as 007 and he signs off with a fantastic, bold and unexpectedly emotional movie.

James Bond(Daniel Craig) has left MI6 and is travelling with his lover Madeleine Swann ( Léa Seydoux )in Matera . Yet his past as a spy comes back again as he is ambushed and attacked by Spectre goons. It becomes apparent that Madeleine is hiding something that could be deadly and Bond feels betrayed by her secrecy, making him part ways with her as he suspects her of leading Spectre to him . Five years later, Bond is in Jamaica attempting retirement when old friend and C.I.A Felix Leiter(Jeffrey Wright) turns up wanting help. It appears Valdo Obruchev( David Dencik) , a scientist working on something very important and deadly has been kidnapped from a covert MI6 base. Bond is reluctant to get involved but does so anyway out of a sense of loyalty to Felix who has helped him out many a time. Along the way Bond encounters the confident agent Nomi( Lashana Lynch)who has taken up his mantle of 007 in his absence. It appears both the C.I.A and MI6 want something from the mysterious Orbruchev and both are working seemingly against each other to get it. The thing in question turns out to be a biological weapon that was secretly being developed off books with clandestine input from MI6. Eventually, following leads in Jamaica and Cuba, Bond returns to MI6 as the case leads back to Blofeld( Christoph Waltz)who he captured in Spectre . The project Obruchev was working on was powerful if harnessed by could prove deadly on a global scale. Aided by a regretful M(Ralph Fiennes), who was the one who started the questionable biological weapon project , computer/tech wizard Q(Ben Whishaw) and the ever loyal Moneypenny (Naomie Harris) Bond attempts to figure out what is happening . But it appears the real enemy actually has a bone to pick with Blofeld . This enemy by the name of Safin (Rami Malek) has his own agenda for kidnapping the scientist, who himself is rather shady in the long run .Things turn extremely personal when Bond once more encounters Madeleine, who has some link to the evil Safin and definite secrets that are waiting to be revealed with far reaching consequences . The stakes are truly raised higher as Bond hunts down this sharp enemy intent on a warped idea of world domination and destruction

Cary Joji Fukunaga provides us with a Bond movie with a difference, while retaining in his artistic vision, the things we all love about this iconic franchise . No Time to Die is extremely stylish and props must go to the gorgeous cinematography that’s by turns beautifully bright or moodily dark in accordance with the shifting settings and unravelling of story . Fukunaga’s direction is also on point in this regard and how it backs up the story of twists and turns with a human heart at its core. He’s a fantastic choice of director and his self-assured stamp is all over No Time to Die. As a huge Bond fan, I appreciate various nods to previous adventures and also how daring and how it’s one of the more emotional of the films, akin to On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and Casino Royale in that regard. This is a film that might polarise fans as it does some things in a manner not expected in a Bond film and boy is there a lot to unpack throughout. But in a way I think that adds more to the film and makes it stand out quite boldly. Time will tell what the fandom truly makes of No Time to Die, but my thoughts are that it’s a strong movie indeed . And as I’m a kind reviewer, I will not delve into major spoilers here and I’ll let movie goers go in with nothing to ruin the film. No Time to Die is also a rather haunting film with many a creepy moment . But then it also has dashes of humour and thrills you always need in a Bond flick  . It has all the ingredients you’d want from a Bond film and tinged then with moments of unexpected horror and tension, such as a spooky opening of Madeleine’s past, grisly death via biological warfare and a nail biting scene in the misty woods of Norway . And the action is still at a high level of enjoyment with the intense ambush scene involving leaping motorbikes and a well armoured car in Matera and Bond and Felix attempting to escape a sinking boat being standouts. Sometimes the exposition gets a bit full on in some stretches and lags a bit, but for a film that runs nearly three hours, it goes by relatively quickly and smoothly . A strongly stirring, thrilling and emotive score by the reliable Hans Zimmer further adds to the excellence of this film as it charts the action of the piece while keeping something personal too. We are also treated to a moody and unusually title sequence that takes us on a journey through the history of the series and features prescient imagery of time, DNA and destruction. It’s all done in artistic fashion and set to the brooding title song by the talented Billie Eilish .

In his last outing as James Bond , Daniel Craig gives a truly complete performance that has many layers. He’s still got the magnetic aggression and killer instinct that we know, but he is also extremely good at the one liners and the beating heart of emotions at the centre of Bond. He’s really owned this part and his last performance doesn’t disappoint as it’s full of feeling and delivered with commitment. Léa Seydoux provides enigmatic presence and tangible sadness as Bond’s love interest, who has her hands tied in a way that throws everything into a tailspin. Her reserved manner and chemistry with Craig are fine assets to No Time to Die and form the main backbone of it. Rami Malek, though I don’t know if I’d rank him as the best Bond villain ever, still has his moments and he does nail the creepy and insidious nature of Safin. He at least has a slithering presence about him which is saying something whenever he appears. Swagger and confidence in action and ability come in the form of Lashana Lynch as the new 00 agent on the block. Whip smart, sassy and always wanting to succeed, Lynch is a fine addition to the film and her witty banter plus prowess in combat are very much on show. The regulars of MI6 in Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris and Ben Whishaw are all stalwart and contribute well to the proceedings. Ralph Fiennes in particular stands out as M who is coming to rue his actions.

Making the most of small screen time but lighting it up with cheeky humour and coltish physicality is the stunning Ana de Armas . Portraying a fledgling agent who is eager to please and both funny and lethal in equal measure, she’s a delightful addition to the film and has a ball with her standout sequence in Cuba . It’s also good to see Jeffrey Wright again as who boasts a contribution of humour and realisation that bounces well of Daniel Craig. We’ve not seen them on screen together since  Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace , but the relationship established there is present once more here. David Dencik and Billy Magnussen make for a slimy duo of turncoat agent with a cheesy smile and slippery scientist  who provide a collective thorn in Bond’s side. Christoph Waltz is also used well in a brief reprisal of Blofeld; his alert eyes and calm yet eerie demeanour wonderfully used to chilling effect. And on henchman duty we have the intense Dali Benssalah, complete with a newly fitted scanning eye who isn’t afraid of a vicious dust up with Bond.

A Bond film where there is a lot to unpack and with a feeling of something different, bold and creative , No Time to Dis makes sure that Daniel Craig signs off in style as 007. I shall miss him as everyone’s favourite super spy but I’m happy that No Time to Die provides him with a fantastically eventful and daring final outing.