It is a big, bold and ambitious movie, and its ending has certainly taken many people by surprise. But it is clear from many of the UK’s leading newspapers that Daniel Craig’s new 007 movie No Time To Die has gone down well with critics, and the actor is going out on a high as far as most of Britain’s film commentators are concerned.
This has been echoed in a very strong performance at the UK Box Office, with one of the best ever openings in the smash-hit EON series.
Robbie Collin in The Daily Telegraph said that, after the long wait, the return of 007 to the big screen ‘was worth the wait’. The film is ‘extravagantly satisfying’ as a last chapter to the Craig era, ‘which throws everything there is left to throw at 007’, while the film has all the usual ‘ritualistic retracings of images and ideas from Bond adventures past’. According to Collins, the director Cary Joji Fukunaga has created some ‘truly dazzling’ action sequences. But there are departures, too: the movie is less dour than others in the Craig years and the humour feels ‘both British and contemporary’.
Bond at his Best
Similar praise came from Kevin Maher in The Times. Craig’s swansong is ‘better than good’ – it is ‘magnificent’, full of heart and has real ’emotional bite’. Maher suggested all this is wrapped up in a fantastic ‘back to basics’ narrative, with a villain (Safin, played by Rami Malek) who is a ‘charmingly old-fashioned homicidal megalomaniac’. Maher also offered special praise for the supporting cast, who are ‘flawless’, and made special mention of Ana de Armas, who plays Paloma. As for Daniel Craig, the retiring 007 actor is a ‘towering, charismatic presence from opening frame to closing shot’.
There was also strong praise from Clarisse Loughrey in The Independent. According to Loughrey, Craig outshines everyting around him in the new film, as his Bond ‘contains an ocean of battered emotions trying to reach the surface’, and his ‘granite-carved features crumple in just the right way, at just the right moments’. Craig is a ‘consummate action star’ and the film is at its best when Fukunaga ‘is given the freedom to match that energy’. In Loughrey’s view, Daniel Craig bows out with ‘grace and style’, and was an actor who ‘gave Bond a soul’.
Bond, James Bond
As well as some highly positive assessments in the UK’s main newspapers, No Time To Die also received some strong reviews in some of the weekly news magazines in Britain. James Walton, writing in The Spectator magazine, noted how Craig’s Bond has been regularly told that he is outdated, yet ‘by the closing credits he’s once again proved how much the world still needs him’. Craig ‘plays every scene’ with conviction.
David Sexton, who penned a review for The New Statesman magazine, noted that Daniel Craig’s final outing as Bond is ‘very much a Bond for today’. Moreover, Ana de Armas again received high praise for her foxy CIA agent Paloma, who was the film’s ‘best new piece of casting’. In general, in Sexton’s estimation, No Time To Die ‘is an enormously important release for re-establishing cinema-going’ and Craig is ‘still a muscular marvel’.
High praise indeed. All this will be music to the ears of EON, and no doubt will be lapped up in the Craig household, too. And rightly so.
Note: For those who have still not seen the new movie yet (yes, there are some still out there!), we have deliberately held back any major spoilers.