Even Daniel Craig is tired of this asshole, and it shows
//all spoilers, all the time
Daniel Craig is a visibly old and visibly bored James Bond. Dude is as tired of playing this imperialist fuckboi as we are of watching him. Craig is 53 years old and Bond is 68. They should both be at home, not out embarassing people by getting in fights and letching on young girls.
This 2021 Bond actually spends much of the movie driving his kid around and making breakfast, which is what a fucking 53 year old should be doing. He still does the killing and car chases, but this Bond is obviously thinking about a good bowl of soup. Dude is retired.
No Time To Die is definitely the right time for Bond to die. It’s a mercy killing, really.
It’s not just the actor. Times have changed.
Nobody’s rooting for British Intelligence these days. They’re the baddies. All the military materiel on display in this film is actually being used against the poor people of Yemen. The Belmarsh Prison where the movie is shot is actually holding Julian Assange capitive. The Royal Navy that saves the day is actually being used against rubber boats full of migrants. Who believes this shit anymore?
Who even believes in British intelligence anymore? There’s this hilarious scene where Ralph Fiennes says he needs to call the Prime Minister, then you think about the actual Prime Minister. What the fuck is Boris going to do?
No Time To Die does make some concessions to modernity but it just doesn’t fit in a film which is—by definition—old. This time Bond doesn’t even sleep withe anybody, except in flashback. Instead his daughter wakes up, kills the mood, and Bond spends the entire third act driving her to activities, which a grown man should be doing.
The whole thing is a category error. You end up with weird scenes of a super-villain babysitting, and he actually does alright. If anybody could keep my kids quiet like Rami Malek I’d be impressed.
Why is Rami’s character evil? I dunno. He has no real nationality or organization, I can’t even remember his name. He’s just disfigured, which is a really harmful shorthand for evil in the Bond universe.
The whole Evil Montessori plotline finishes when Baby Bond bites the villain’s thumb and he just lets her go. That’s it. Bond spends the rest of the movie finding her cuddly toy.
I won’t even say that the plot makes no sense—this is Bond, who cares—but this isn’t even interesting. Rami is selling some weaponized disease, but who even cares after COVID-19? We already have a pandemic. You can kill millions of people with a Facebook Page.
And the action is just phoned in. When Craig started 15 years ago he was an incredibly athletic James Bond but now, well, it’s fucking 15 years later. Because male stars remain bankable forever, we end up with absurd movies like Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman, starring the California Raisins. Bond is one of those.
If you’re 50 and getting into fights you’ve fucked up in life. Go home. Work on your golf swing. Nobody wants to see that. Craig still does the work competently, but it looks like work. Bond has always been about how fun it is beating people to death and this Bond isn’t having any fun.
The big action showpiece amounts to Bond going up some stairs. I am a middle-aged man and this is actually a big deal to me, but it’s not interesting.
The second climax is him going up the same stairs again. It’s like “fuck, I forgot my keys” as a movie. Yes it has punching and murdering, but what’s the stakes here? Who cares?
Phoebe Waller-Bridge (of the excellent Fleabag) helped write this and you can really tell that there’s a funny movie in here somewhere. It’s bring-your-daughter to work day, for spies. There’s a great comedy in there. But James Bond isn’t a comedy. It’s a farce.
James Bond is the personified penis of Empire, fucking or killing everyone in sight. That’s all he is, that’s all he’s supposed to be. It’s a 70 year old story about a violent old manchild representing a violent old empire. At some point we all have to grow up. And Daniel Craig has. He’s audibly grown out of the role.
When asked if the next Bond should be a woman Craig said:
“The answer to that is very simple,” he said. “There should simply be better parts for women and actors of colour. Why should a woman play James Bond when there should be a part just as good as James Bond, but for a woman?”
Craig is saying — as much as you can say on a press tour — that James Bond sucks. That he’s sick of it. He’s literally asking why a woman would want this shitty role at all. He’s saying that actors should aspire higher.
Stories also just need to end sometimes. Bond is the oldest movie franchise after Godzilla, and it’s been much more consistent. My Amma grew up reading the Ian Fleming books and watching Sean Connery. I grew up watching Pierce Brosnan and playing Goldeneye on N64. We grew up with Bond and I liked it, but watching No Time To Die in 2021, I wasn’t even offended, I was just bored. Indifference is worse than hatred, and I was just indifferent.
Hence at the end when James Bond actually dies, it’s a relief. A) cause the movie’s over and I can pee and B) cause the character was dead. Obviously the IP isn’t dead—they’ll keep making movies and making money—but whatever soul there was to James Bond, that’s gone. He’s no longer a lovable scamp or a super tramp. He’s just a violent, lonely, old man, representing a violent, isolated Empire.
There’s some pathos there, but it’s no party. It’s a mausoleum. Commander James Bond is dead, 1953–2021. Died immediately of COVID-19, but had been unwell and embarassing everyone for years. Rest IP.
*watch Layer Cake to see both Daniel Craig and Tom Hardy before they were big. Craig is a great actor.