After what is maybe the most torturous wait for any movie in recent memory, No Time to Die has finally arrived. So, is it any good?
With its stunning visuals, heartfelt drama, gripping spectacle and Daniel Craig's best performance as James Bond, No Time to Die is a satisfying end to the Craig films and an improvement on Spectre and Quantum of Solace.
At the same time though, No Time to Die is plenty flawed and it certainly doesn't hold a candle to Casino Royale or Skyfall nor is it among the top ten greatest Bond films to date. In spite of its many qualities, No Time to Die did make some mistakes in the writing department and it clearly didn't quite escape its troubled production unscathed (it took your writer a couple of viewings to get into the film).
It must be emphasized that No Time to Die was worth the wait, but given how maddening the film's delays have been it would've been nice to get an elite film rather than just a good one. With just a few key fixes, No Time to Die could've been one of the best Bonds to date...
8. Fix The Train Scene
First up, one of the most important scenes in the entire film is the one just before the (very good) opening titles: Bond, believing Madeleine (Lea Seydoux) is a traitor, puts her on a train and leaves her.
This is such a crucial scene since it establishes Bond's big problem: after the trauma of losing Vesper Lynd (Eva Green) in Casino Royale, he cannot trust anyone.
While the message is questionable - it's not unreasonable for a man in Bond's profession to be extremely selective about who he trusts - it's an interesting narrative arc that comes to a very powerful conclusion in which Bond, prior to his death, finally learns to truly love again but it's not set off well. At all.
After some Spectre agents pursuing the couple say Madeleine is allied with them Bond just dumps her without giving her a chance to explain herself, all based on the words of a group of villains who lie for a living.
Since Bond was being so unfair on Madeleine and so rash, this scene doesn't feel earned at all and given that this scene forms a huge part of No Time to Die's emotional story-line, that really set it back from the off. This scene needed to be rewritten in order to make Bond and Madeleine's break-up feel earned and justified.