No Time to Die First Reviews: A Spectacularly Fitting Sendoff for Daniel Craig's 007

Critics say the latest Bond film is a worthy swan song for its longest-running star, with breathtaking action and a surprisingly emotional finale that might catch fans off guard.

by | September 29, 2021 | Comments

It’s been six years since the release of the last James Bond movie, Spectre, which received the lowest Tomatometer score of Daniel Craig’s run of the franchise. That means anticipation is very high and very demanding for the 25th installment, No Time to Die. Fortunately, reviews of the 007 sequel, which is also Craig’s last, claim it more than delivers. This Bond has all the action and cosmopolitan flair that fans expect while also offering a lot of unique twists on the character and his mythology. Unfortunately, it does seem to have a villain problem.

Here’s what critics are saying about No Time To Die:

So, mission accomplished?

“Raise a martini — it was worth the wait.” – John Nugent, Empire Magazine

“Worth the wait… I enjoyed it tremendously as a James Bond fan.” – Chris Bumbray, JoBlo

No Time to Die exceeds all expectations.” – Travis Hopson, Punch Drunk Critics

No Time to Die is a disappointment but not a soul-killing whiff akin to Spectre.” – Scott Mendelson, Forbes

Is it one of the better Daniel Craig installments?

“Possibly the best film of the Craig era.” – Travis Hopson, Punch Drunk Critics

No Time To Die is Daniel Craig’s best incarnation.” – Jason Solomons, The Wrap

“It’s the third-best Daniel Craig Bond outing.” – Deirdre Molumby,

“It might not hit the Skyfall and Casino Royale heights, but it’s a marked improvement on Spectre and will give fans plenty to savor.” – Ian Sandwell, Digital Spy

Daniel Craig in No Time to Die

(Photo by Nicola Dove/©MGM/©Danjaq)

Is there a lot of fan service?

“The call-backs to the Bond mythology are fun yet resonate on a deeper level.” – Alistair Harkness, Scotsman

“There is a lightness that makes this final film in the Daniel Craig arc a true celebration of all things James Bond.” – Mike Reyes, Cinema Blend

“The film overcompensates to assure fans that James Bond is the ‘real 007.’” – Scott Mendelson, Forbes

Is it also one of the more original Bond movies?

No Time To Die aptly balances the franchise’s classic construct yet totally remakes what a Bond movie can be for a fitting, touching end to Craig’s tenure.” – Robert Daniels, The Playlist

“While the conventions can occasionally feel confining, there are enough significant deviations to make this entry stand out.” – Matt Maytum, Total Film

“This film does things that no Bond film has ever done… It is the unfamiliar things it does that make this such an exciting entry.” – John Nugent, Empire Magazine

“This is arguably the most tender portrait of James Bond we’ve ever seen.” – David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter

“The 007 franchise-template is still capable of springing a surprise on the fanbase.” – Peter Bradshaw, Guardian

Daniel Craig in No Time to Die

(Photo by Nicola Dove/©MGM/©Danjaq)

How is the action?

“The stunts are simply spectacular, with one particular scene involving a motorbike in Italy that will leave you watching through splayed fingers in exhilarating fear.” – Dulcie Pearce, The Sun

“Craig also gets arguably the standout action sequence of his entire run with an astonishing and brutal one-take stairwell sequence.” – Ian Sandwell, Digital Spy

“The fight choreography by Patrick Vo is excellent, thorough and exciting. The stunts (coordinated by Lee Morrison and Petr Rychlý) are also thrilling.” – Mae Abdulbaki, Screen Rant

“Fukunaga’s action seems to partly ape John Wick, with an emphasis on sharp, savage gunfights and intense chase sequences.” – John Nugent, Empire Magazine

Does it still feel more grounded and intense than most Bond movies?

No Time To Die looks like it is taking place in the real world, a huge wide open space that we’re all longing for.” – Peter Bradshaw, Guardian

“The action’s outlandish yet grounded, the gadgets are ridiculous but work beautifully within the framework of a story.” – Alistair Harkness, Scotsman

“A Bond that is so thrillingly tense, it veers into something close to horror.” – Clarisse Loughrey, Independent

Daniel Craig and Jeffrey Wright in No Time to Die

(Photo by Nicola Dove/©MGM/©Danjaq)

How is the plot?

“The storyline feels like there were too many cooks, but it still tastes familiar enough to be craved.” – Dulcie Pearce, The Sun

“Fukunaga and his fellow writers inherited a whole mess of plot baggage from Spectre, and they handle it in the only way they possibly could.” – David Ehrlich, IndieWire

No Time to Die [is] a movie with a plot so ridiculous it reaches Roger Moore-era absurdness.” – Mike Ryan, Uproxx

“It’s so convoluted and protracted you might find yourself zoning out through much of the villainy.” – David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter

What if you haven’t seen the previous movies?

“You could probably understand it without fresh knowledge of the other movies. It will be a richer experience if you did know them, yet isn’t inaccessible to potential newcomers.” – Ian Sandwell, Digital Spy

“[As] an explicit sequel to Spectre… it undercuts the franchise’s appeal as escapist entertainment.” – Scott Mendelson, Forbes

Lashana Lynch in No Time to Die

(Photo by Nicola Dove/©MGM/©Danjaq)

Does it benefit from Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s writing?

“This film is all about the girls. Unlike the previous 24 Bond films, the ladies in No Time to Die are more kick-ass than just, well, ass.” – Dulcie Pearce, The Sun

“Refreshingly, the women on screen — as uncommonly, unsurprisingly gorgeous as they all tend to be — read more like actual human beings than scenery here, and even James treats them accordingly.” – Leah Greenblatt, Entertainment Weekly

“Another worthy note about No Time to Die is the contribution of Fleabag creator/star Phoebe Waller-Bridge to the screenplay.” – Dierdre Molumby,

“The movie’s very best joke… classic Fleabag!” – Charlotte O’Sullivan, London Evening Standard

“As much as Fukunaga and company try to diversify the franchise… This movie is solely concerned with white men who feel out of step with the world.” – Robert Daniels, The Playlist

How is Daniel Craig’s final Bond performance?

“Craig may well have delivered the most complex and layered Bond performance of them all.” – Jason Solomons, The Wrap

“He is brilliant in No Time to Die, in a way that outshines everything around him.” – Clarisse Loughrey, Independent

“I believe this is the best he’s ever done as Bond.” – Travis Hopson, Punch Drunk Critics

“It’s clear that Craig knows and loves this character and that shines through.” – Ian Sandwell, Digital Spy

“I love Craig’s Bond, but there are times when he’s trying to be a Connery Bond in a clearly Roger Moore Bond movie.” – Mike Ryan, Uproxx

Rami Malek in No Time to Die

(Photo by Nicola Dove/©MGM/©Danjaq)

How is Rami Malek’s villain?

“Rami Malek is a menacing presence as Safin and as with the best of Bond villains, less is more.” – Ian Sandwell, Digital Spy

“Rami Malek seems to be enjoying playing the villain, and that glee is infectious.” – Deirdre Molumby,

“As a villain, he’s no fun, and Malek can’t do much to make him memorable.” – David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter

“More a grab bag of character motivations than a felt threat. But Malek’s performance is also lacking.” – Robert Daniels, The Playlist

“Malek himself gives almost nothing to the role beyond the accent and the fake scars he wears.” – Clarisse Loughrey, Independent

“He is too young, too wet, and too unscary to be a classic Bond villain. He looks as if he spends more time on his haircare than his evil plans.” – Nicholas Barber, BBC

“He’s not the most cogent bad guy ever, but he has ocean eyes.” – Charlotte O’Sullivan, London Evening Standard

“This underwritten and almost incidental role feels entirely left on the cutting room floor.” – Scott Mendelson, Forbes

How about Lashanna Lynch as the new 007?

“Lynch is pretty kick-ass in the role…she more than holds her own alongside Craig, injecting the early parts of the film with a fun spy-vs-spy energy.” – Alistair Harkness, Scotsman

“Lynch’s Nomi is a wonderful anomaly. And she has super-duper taste in trousers.” – Charlotte O’Sullivan, London Evening Standard

Ana de Armas in No Time to Die

(Photo by Nicola Dove/©MGM/©Danjaq)

Will we want more of any other characters?

“Everyone is going to claim to want a Paloma spin-off.” – Scott Mendelson, Forbes

“The swift exit of [Ana de Armas’ Paloma] once the action moves on from Cuba is a real disappointment. The character begs for a recurring role in future installments.” – David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter

“Please, please, please, can someone give Q his own spin-off movie?” – Charlotte O’Sullivan, London Evening Standard

Will we feel that record running time (163 minutes)?

No Time to Die is so, so long. But I wish it went a little longer if only to see how else Craig could’ve pushed this dinosaur.” – Robert Daniels, The Playlist

“While the pace never lags and there’s never a moment when you could get bored, it’s just a lot of movie with a ton going on and it’s exhausting.” – Travis Hopson, Punch Drunk Critics

“The run length alone dilutes the intended emotional resonance of the final scenes.” – Leah Greenblatt, Entertainment Weekly

“You really start to feel the pacing of the longest Bond installment.” – Deirdre Molumby,

Daniel Craig and Ana de Armas in No Time to Die

(Photo by Nicola Dove/©MGM/©Danjaq)

So is No Time to Die a proper goodbye to Daniel Craig’s 007?

“As Craig’s swan song, No Time to Die is everything one could ask for in a final outing.” – Mae Abdulbaki, Screen Rant

“It’s a moving valedictory salute to the actor who has left arguably the most indelible mark on the character since Connery.” – David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter

No Time to Die is his perfect ending, a moment worth toasting as a wistful rejection of a character that’ll never be the same without him.” – Robert Daniels, The Playlist

“Gives both Bond and audiences the goodbye he deserves.” – Rob Hunter, Film School Rejects

“What’s most disappointing about the film is how strangely anti-climatic the whole thing feels.” – Clarisse Loughrey, Independent

“I was hoping No Time to Die would give Daniel Craig a noble swan song, but it’ll have to settle for merely being better than Diamonds Are Forever, A View to A Kill and Die Another Day.” – Scott Mendelson, Forbes

Will this finale leave us in tears?

“It leaves you with emotions few filmgoers will be expecting to find in a big budget action film.” – Rob Hunter, Film School Rejects

No Time to Die will be remembered for its emotional impact above all.” – Jason Solomons, The Wrap

“I never thought I’d wipe away a tear at the end of a James Bond movie, but No Time to Die fulfills its promise.” – Owen Gleiberman, Variety

“I want to watch James Bond and feel good after…not feel forlorn.” – Mike Ryan, Uproxx

Poster for No Time to Die

(Photo by ©MGM/©Danjaq)

Will it be a hard act to follow?

“Whoever’s next has got one hell of job on their hands.” – Jason Solomons, The Wrap

“Whoever steps in next has enormous shoes to fill.” – Travis Hopson, Punch Drunk Critics

No Time to Die is in theaters on October 8, 2021.

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