No Time to Die – New Bond Movie Review

Last Saturday I went to the cinema to see the new Bond movie – No Time to Die. It took me a week to process what I thought about this movie. The briefest way to summarise my feelings about it is to say: veni, vidi, disappointed.

Six years of waiting for the 25th picture of master super sexy agent James Bond and the last one with Daniel Craig as 007. I expected fireworks, something special, a big bang. Well, there was a big bang but not the kind I hoped for. All I got was a long, snotty, emotional second-rate piece of cinema. Let’s start from the beginning shall we! ATTENTION – SPOILER ALERT.

A destroyed icon

James Bond, the agent with the license to kill, also known as the dream man of every woman. None of my female friends I spoke to would say NO to Sean Connery, Roger Moore or Pierce Brosnan. James Bond stands for all those manly features we love – strength, imagination, resourcefulness and the ability to get into trouble. Bond doesn’t get emotional, he’s a proper guy from the beginning to the end. You can call him an alpha male who doesn’t respect women, but I’ll come to that later. 

Official movie poster

Now, Daniel Craig and Casino Royale, the first movie where he impersonated 007 wasn’t bad.

We had a bad guy, an intriguing plot, decent car chases, dynamic shooting scenes and a badass Bond Girl. However, this movie started the whole let’s make James Bond more human series. Let’s give the audience a 007 that is fit for the 21st century. Which means in Casino Royale, James falls in love with Vesper and the girl betrays him royally. She collaborates with a secret organisation and seduces Bond on purpose. In the end she dies… bu hu. In the next movies 007 can’t get over Vesper. He searches and wants to destroy the organisation she worked for and wants to understand why Vesper betrayed him. That triggers a series of events which lead to James being emotional, burned out and fed up with his agent lifestyle. In No Time to Die the Vesper and how she hurt me plot continues. However he falls in love again with another woman – Madeleine and is convinced she betrayed him as well. Geez that sounds like a soap opera and not like a spy movie. Actually, it felt like a soap opera. After the opening scene with a big bang, a cool car and motorbike chase, plus lots of shooting the movie didn’t offer much. It was way too long, nearly three hours. The main plot was to take down the villain who wants to destroy the world with a deadly virus – ehem cliché and the side plots were leading to close all loose ends from the previous movies. Kinda complex. Also the characters. Somehow, I had the feeling that there was no chemistry between them. The relations between them were cold and stiff, like in a school play. And the jokes. Not very funny. After like two hours it turned out that James Bond has a daughter with Madeleine! A child! Are you serious! In the last 45 min mum and kid get kidnapped by the bad guy who wants to destroy the world and daddy 007 needs to save everybody. It doesn’t end there. Bond follows the bad guy to his secret island where the virus is grown. He saves Madeleine and while fighting with the villain Bond gets infected with the virus… ahhhhh tragic!

Madeleine and Bond – pic from imdb.com
Remi Malik as the bad guy Safin. Pic from https://screenrant.com

In the end he stays on the island while missiles are heading towards it to blow it up. Meaning Bond dies… kaboom… done… I’m actually glad it was over as I could finally go home to watch something decent. I’m very disappointed with No Time to Die as it was just wrong. It pictured James Bond as a sissy, as an emotional man who cares.

There was nothing from the iconic MI6 agent from the past. Bond got broken. Not only in the latest movie but in the whole Daniel Craig series the producers were messing with the icon. I would love to have an old school Bond like boyfriend, Pierce Brosnan for example 😀 Endless adventures and hot sex. Having a boyfriend like the contemporary James Bond… no thank you. Emotionally unstable, changing his mind every minute and not being able to get over the ex who dumped him – nightmare. The producers wanted to give the audience a 007 with a refreshed appearance. The alpha male, playboy who was seducing women for the sake of obtaining secret information or to complete a task as this is not very me-too generation like. In the modern world such a dinosaur spy male model is highly inappropriate, offensive and unacceptable. Is it really? I do understand the changing circumstances however James Bond 007 is an icon you shouldn’t mess with or change. Come on, would you change Sherlock Holmes to adjust him to the new reality? Of course not! In the past Bond was the idol of all boys, they wanted to be like him. Fearless, strong, ruthless, courageous, involved in hot romances. Man, at some point even I wanted to be like James Bond, taking down criminals and shooting a gun at the same time. If the current Bond image pictures how current men are or want to be no wonder that most men nowadays are weak, frightened and snotty little boys. You know what? Men did change over the last years but so did women. Think it would be better to have a female 007 for good instead of a weak man. I’m raising my hand as a candidate. 

Deprioritising women

I can’t get rid of the impression that from Casino Royale to No Time to Die women were portrayed as weak creatures who need rescue. The idea of a Bond Girl is to have a beautiful woman as 007’s sidekick. Although Bond always had the upper hand, the Bond Girls helped him to defeat the villain. You could say the Bond and the Bond Girl have a comparable status and abilities. However, in the nowadays Bond movies women are not sidekicks anymore. They got stripped from their fighting abilities, their cold heartedness and adventurousness. In No Time to Die adult Madeline hesitates to kill Blofeld. Funny as young Madeline didn’t hesitate to shoot the intruder that broke into her hour and killed her mother. Pussy Galore from Goldfinger wouldn’t have those hesitations. Noticed also that apart from Valenka in Casino Royale there were no fame fatal in the remaining movies. Why? Because women are good and kind creatures that don’t wanna do any harm? That’s so sad the producers didn’t put more female villains into the movies.

 In the World is Not Enough it was so incredibly exciting to watch the badass Elektra King torturing 007. First, she slept with Bond then she used him for her purpose. She was a successful businesswoman who wouldn’t accept no for an answer. Smart, sexy, powerful and with a master revenge plan.

She lost in the end but hey it was incredible to watch a woman who kicks ass. When we are on the topic of women who kick ass in James Bond movies. The best one ever was May Day in A View to a Kill played by Grace Jones. She was not only beautiful but also strong as hell. May Day could beat the crap out of everybody. It was a pure pleasure to watch that character. She was the perfect killer and fighter. Something I’m missing in the current Bond movies. 

Grace Jones as May Day – best badass Bong Girl ever 🙂 Pic from https://villains.fandom.com

If I think about it, that’s just sad. Camille in Quantum of Solace did have a couple of action scenes but not very impressive. Madeline in No Time to Die just curled up and was whispering “what next James” when sitting in a car that was under gunfire. So sad… so so sad. I’m dared to say that women characters in the latest 007 movies turned from heroes to mice. They also don’t do dangerous actions or stunts. They just look good… and that is sexist.

I kept in mind some memorable scenes from the movies with Pierce Brosnan. First one for example is from Die Another Day. After the brawl in the genetics clinic in Cuba, Jinx, played by Halle Berry, stands on a cliff, gives Bond a triumphant look and jumps off the cliff into the water! Second one, all fighting scenes with Wai Lin played by Michelle Yeoh. She just beats everybody up and all opponents land on their shoulder blades. Thing is that Michelle did all those fighting scenes herself without a stuntwoman. Third one is with a Polish accent. I’m incredibly proud of Izabella Scorupco who played Natalya Simonova, a programmer in Goldeneye. She was underestimated by her male co-worker who turned to the dark side. Eventually she did cause him a programming headache. Not bad! Also, what was quite impressive is that Natalya’s character evolved from a scared woman to somebody who puts down Xenia Onatopp, a deadly killer.

Izabella Scorupco as Natalya Simonova in Goldeneye. Pic from https://www.007.com

There is however one good thing I can say about women in No Time to Die. There was an attempt to introduce a female 007. Good idea, good execution only the character could use more confidence. There is a scene where female 007 calls M the boss to ask whether she should eliminate the target or keep him alive. Seriously?!

It’s so wrong to portray a character like that as a one that needs to obey the male boss and ask for permission. Yes, yes fine there are rules when you are an agent but a 007 doesn’t ask for permission, regardless male or female. 

There will be no more Daniel Craig as James Bond. On one hand I’m sad as he is a good actor but on the other, I’m glad there will be a new one or shall I say if there will be a new one. As Bond dies in the last movie will there be a continuation or is it the end? If yes, I would be careful to call it a James Bond movie. The current movies are not that bad action movies, but they are far far away from being a Bond movie. No Time to Die and the rest of them with Daniel Craig the Bond’ness got lost. There is no more craziness, impossibleness, arrogance and nonchalance. Simply there is no more Bond in Bond.   

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