I watched the most recent Bond film, No Time to Die, last night.
I have seen every Bond film at this point, largely inspired by John Gruber, who famously (in tech circles at least) is a Bond fan. Despite having seen dozens of Bond movies over the years, I don’t consider myself a Bond fan. Most of them are ridiculous and their sexism has obviously not aged well.
I like to think of James Bond as a terrible spy. After all, everybody knows who he is, and he never actually spies on anyone, either. While not a spy, he is instead a sloppy fixer who always managers to get the job done. I also think of him, in most Bond movies anyway, as a sociopath. Over and over again, especially in the earlier Bond movies, he sleeps with women who wind up dead the next day, and appears to be completely unfazed by it. Also, of course, he kills scores of people and never seems to have PTSD let along give it a second thought.
Daniel Craig has a more soulful and less sociopathic take on the character. His Bond’s story arc comes to a close in No Time to Die, which plays out, in many ways, like a tragic love story. Bond is, well, bonded to his love interest (wife?) Madeleine, Madeleine’s daughter Mathilde, and even his CIA friend Felix. Overall, I think the film’s focus on these relationships worked very well.
There were a few points of inconsistent writing when it comes to the two female agents—one of whom, Nomi, is the new 007—who aid Bond in his mission. Nomi’s numerous jokes at Bond’s expense did not land at all, mainly because Daniel Craig looks and acts like a super-man in all the action scenes rather than the creaky old man she insinuates him to be.
The Daniel Craig Bond films always lose me in the third act. This one had some weaknesses that I think all these movies have. For example, I thought villain’s motive to kill millions of people was weak, and that his secret base’s security was especially lackadaisical. Still, the story had personal stakes for Bond (which is a speciality of most or all of the Daniel Craig Bond movies, if I recall correctly), and those stakes held my interest quite a bit.
Overall, despite some minor stumbles in the dialog, I very much enjoyed it. It may be my favorite Bond movie now, or at least sit in my personal top three list alongside _ From Russia with Love_ and The Spy Who Loved Me.