Full disclosure, before watching No Time to Die, the only other James Bond movie I had seen prior was Casino Royale (2006). I’ve admittedly never been that drawn to the James Bond franchise, but my boyfriend who enjoyed Daniel Craig’s run, wanted to finish off the series. So watching this movie with him, there were definitely some callbacks and characters that I didn’t really understand. With that in mind, please note this review is more so about No Time to Die as a movie itself rather than commenting on the franchise as a whole.

As the fifth and final instalment of Daniel Craig’s run as James Bond, No Time to Die is an action spy thriller that concludes the end of an era in suave fashion that is perfectly fitting of the character. Starring Daniel Craig, Lea Seydoux, Rami Malek, Lashana Lynch, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Whishaw, Baomie Harris, Jeffrey Wright, and Ana de Armas, this star studded cast was definitely one of the highlights of the film. While its action-packed plot full of familiar faces succeeded in making No Time to Die an overall enjoyable watch, I personally found the movie to be very flawed, particularly in its runtime and writing of the villain.

Although I did have a generally favourable time watching the movie, I do get the feeling that No Time to Die was enjoyable not because it was actually a well written, well directed film, but because it had a fantastic cast and was riding on the culmination of Craig’s journey as Bond. I honestly did like the angle they were going with and I thought the character arc they were giving Bond was an interesting one. While Craig was certainly one of the better parts of the film, unfortunately, the writing was not up to par which resulted in a flimsy, messy story. I have to say, thank god Craig was as charismatic and bold as he was or else I would’ve had a much more negative experience. He definitely carried the film for me.

And with bad writing comes some unavoidable issues. My biggest complaint by far had to be with Rami Malek’s character, Lyutsifer Safin (seriously, what’s up with that name though). As the big bad guy in the movie, I wanted him to feel intimidating, daunting, and powerful. Instead, I couldn’t help but feel disappointed by how incredibly underwhelming the character was. With a confusingly short amount of screen time, they really didn’t give Malek a shot at creating a complex and interesting villain. While Malek’s performance left more to be desired, I don’t entirely blame him – I honestly think it was the script. Lyutsifer was just so one-dimensional and I struggled to understand his motives. And what’s with the random switch to poisonous plants? I thought we were dealing with nanobots this whole time. See? Bad writing. With Lyutsifer being the last enemy Craig is to face as James Bond, they definitely needed a much more worthy opponent. It was just truly underwhelming to say the least.

But that wasn’t the only problem I had; with an astounding 2h 40m runtime, No Time to Die was far too long, with an unnecessarily drawn out middle half that failed to feel significant. I remember at one point I checked how far in we were with the movie and was absolutely gobsmacked that we were somehow only halfway through. I don’t know how long Bond movies generally go for, but almost reaching 3 hours for an action movie seems a little far fetched. Look, I love a good lengthy movie, but only if it feels necessary for the story. I guess with action movies though you can expect some long fight sequences that do take up a bit of time.

In terms of the action department, I will say the combat scenes were very thrilling and exciting – nothing extraordinarily special though. I particularly enjoyed the car chase early on in the movie with Bond and Madeleine. While the action was pretty good, I wouldn’t have expected anything less from a Bond movie. Craig did well to live up to my expectations and I thought Lashana Lynch was a force to be reckoned with as well. I liked seeing them butt heads given their similar sassy and cocky attitudes, and it was fun seeing the two team up in the end to fight. I do have one gripe though and it’s surprisingly to do with Ana de Armas’ role. I actually felt she did rather poorly with the fight choreography during her short scene and her movements looked awfully staged. While I love her as an actress, there admittedly felt like something was off with her performance in this movie that didn’t quite sit right with me.

Whether No Time to Die was a satisfying conclusion isn’t really up for me to say given I’ve only seen Casino Royale (2006). What I will say though is that Craig put up a great performance for the last time he’ll be in Bond’s shoes, and as an individual movie, I was decently satisfied with how things turned out. The ending was a bit rushed and I wished they explored the aftermath a bit further, but all things considered, it did what it needed to do. I’ve decided to give No Time to Die a 6/10. This movie definitely had a bunch of flaws that took me out of it, but that’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the experience as a whole. Maybe it’s the fact that it’s about James Bond or that it’s Craig’s final film, but I did have a pretty good time watching it. If the movie had better writing and direction, it really had the potential to be something great. Unfortunately, it just fell short of that.