Daniel Craig's time as the iconic James Bond comes to a closure with this year's No Time to Die, which sees the eponymous MI6 agent on a high stakes mission to combat the evil Spectre organisation once more, with their newest scheme exploiting the works of an abducted scientist and the development of a bioweapon that jeopardises the world as we know it.
Craig's final Bond outing is certainly the ambitious action thriller one would expect, with a number of gripping set pieces that demonstrate a major development in scope when compared to those that came before it. Intertwined with these thrilling sequences is a story that, while certainly not on par with the franchise's best efforts, is effectively laced with interesting twists, threatening foes, and an intensive atmosphere that only escalates as more revelations come to fruition.
No Time to Die potentially qualifies as one of the best 007 films to date when it comes to action, with its set pieces once again boasting a major sense of scope and scale, which is apt for a conclusion to such a significant stage of the franchise. The truck sized budget is certainly put to good use to craft lavish special effects, superb production design, and relentless (if sometimes awkwardly shot) fight sequences which are both brutal and ruthless; all these merits are most apparent within the film's climactic battle, which is easily one of the most intense scenes that the whole series, let alone the film itself, has to offer.
It's a shame that the story, while interesting and heartfelt, perhaps goes a bit overboard with its unpredictability, which can sometimes leave it without a firm sense of direction. This becomes evident when a number of seemingly important characters abruptly come and go with little aftermath, notably when it comes to the antagonists themselves; yes, they're suitably threatening and sinister, but the jarring disposal of them once they've served their duty with narrative exposure can leave them rather forgettable. It can thus be hard to tell who the film's primary villain truly is throughout the bulk of the story.
The performances for the most part meet all expectations, with Craig delivering another caustic portrayal of Bond and the likes of Ralph Fiennes, Ben Wishaw, Naomie Harris, and Léa Seydoux shining in their crucial supporting roles. Christoph Waltz and Rami Malek, among others, do their very best as our key villains, but once again find themselves burdened by roles with a lack of substance. This is most evident with Malek as Lyutsifer Safin, whose efforts are undermined by a blandly written character which just doesn't serve as a fitting adversary for Bond to combat in this otherwise ambitious finale. No Time to Die is also home to some excessive goofy humour, but all this aside, it still provides the thrills and genuine excitement we need from such a key stage of the series, making it a largely satisfying closing chapter to Craig's time as 007.