Daniel Craig’s fifth and final James Bond film, No Time To Die, has received rave reviews from critics.
The movie premiered at the Royal Albert Hall on Tuesday, following several delays prompted by the Covid pandemic.
In his five-star review of the film, Kevin Maher of The Times said: “It’s better than good. It’s magnificent.
“Craig is a towering charismatic presence from opening frame to closing shot, and he bows out in terrific, soulful, style.”
But while most critics were positive, some suggested the film did not quite justify its 163-minute running time.
This reviews round-up is spoiler free.
“It is of course a festival of absurdity and complication, a head-spinning world of giant plot mechanisms,” he said, but concluded the film as a whole is “very enjoyable and gleefully spectacular”.
Stephanie Zacharek of Time was broadly positive about the film, but suggested Craig’s swansong didn’t warrant its length.
“At two hours and 43 minutes, it’s too long and too overstuffed with plot – more isn’t always better,” she said. “And it features one of the dullest villains in the series’ history, played by Rami Malek in mottled skin and dumb silky PJs.”But forget all that. No Time To Die, its flaws notwithstanding, is perfectly tailored to the actor who is, to me, the best Bond of all.”
No Time To Die marks the culmination of an over-arching storyline that began with Craig’s first Bond film Casino Royale, released in 2006.
In another five-star review, Robbie Collin of The Telegraph said: “[Director] Cary Joji Fukunaga’s extravagantly satisfying, bulgingly proportioned last chapter to the Craig era, throws almost everything there is left to throw at 007 the series can come up with.
“We’ve been expecting you, Mr Bond, for quite some time,” he added, “and what a joy and relief it is to have you back.”
The Independent’s Clarisse Loughrey was less enthusiastic, awarding the film three stars and describing the premise as “generic spy nonsense”.
“Cary Joji Fukunaga has made a smashing piece of action cinema with No Time To Die – it’s just a shame it had to be a Bond film,” she said. “What’s most disappointing is how strangely anti-climatic the whole thing feels.”
She added: “Despite Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s much-publicised contributions to the film’s script, No Time to Die hardly feels like the radical feminist rewrite we were promised.”
There was a similarly lukewarm response from Screen Daily’s Jonathan Romney, who said: “It’s certainly a film that breaks many of the canonical rules of the series, though not entirely to dazzling effect.
“There’s plenty to gawk at, and to argue over, in this episode,” he added, “yet No Time To Die is oddly lacking in pleasure or real wit.”
Empire’s John Nugent agreed that the film was too long, writing that the middle third is “bogged down by plotting and exposition doesn’t justify that heaving runtime”.
However, he noted: “This film does things that no Bond film has ever done, and despite relying heavily on tropes that feel not only familiar but comforting, it is the unfamiliar things it does that make this such an exciting entry.”