The movie does not seem to know, whose expectations it should be fulfilling.
For several decades, James Bond has been a traditional male fantasy. Explosive action, expensive luxury cars, all kinds of weapons, cool gadgets, dangerous situations, travelling all around the world, tailor made suits, expensive hotels and beautiful women. All these things are something we have all grown to expect from a James Bond movie. Some familiar themes are present in the latest No Time To Die as well. At the same time there are a bunch of other themes, that traditionally have not been a part of the franchise. What we get is a well-executed, good movie, which does not seem to know, whose expectations it should be fulfilling.
James Bond (Daniel Craig) has retired. The world, on the other hand, waits for no one, and a new weapon of mass destruction could end up in the wrong hands. An experienced CIA agent Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright) recruits Bond for one last mission, this time with another intelligence service (CIA). Naturally the British MI6 is also involved, and they send in a much younger 007 agent (Lashana Lynch). All of this is woven together as a very personal mission, which also includes the movie's antagonist Lyutsifer Safin (Rami Malek).
As I said, the story is exceptionally well-told. It seamlessly combines together its action scenes, saving the world and personal relationships in a way that is a sign of good writing. A price for all this is that the movie is almost 3 hours long. It is, however, understandable, because there is so much story to tell.
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Those traditional James Bond themes, for example expensive cars, energetic action scenes and powerful music, are back. Other than that, the movie is not that traditional. There are several modern and progressive themes present, and in terms of story - as I already mentioned - they all fit in nicely. And this is the most divisive thing about No Time To Die. Old-school fans probably think that James Bond has lost its identity, and replaced it with something else. On the other hand, more modern and progressive viewers might think that No Time To Die is not progressive enough, because there still are some old traditions present as well. Worst case scenario is, therefore, that in the end no one is fully satisfied, because the movie doesn't seem to know, whose expectations it should be fulfilling.
As I mentioned, saving the world now includes very personal stakes as well. I would even say, that this is the most emotional James Bond movie I have ever seen. This can be seen either as a good, or a bad, thing. Some might say that it's a high time to include something like this in a James Bond movie, while others might feel, that this kind of relationship drama should have no place in a 007 movie.
No Time To Die is a well-executed, good movie, but as a James Bond movie it's a bit problematic. This is not a fully new 007 movie for our modern era, but at the same time it's not fully traditional either. As an independent work of art, it's a good movie. But is it a good James Bond movie? That depends on what your personal expectations are.