This article contains spoilers for No Time to Die
Daniel Craig is double-oh done. His services to Her Majesty are complete, and he’s not coming back as anything other than a flashback. Where No Time to Die sits in the grand ranking of James Bond films is now up to the fans to decide, but one thing is for certain: like the non-Eon Sean Connery picture Never Say Never Again or even the jokey 1967 Casino Royale, Craig’s swansong will forever be remembered as something unique, maybe even a franchise asterisk. It colours outside the lines in ways we haven’t seen before, and this may lead to some consternation. Here’s what we couldn’t stop talking about when the picture ended.
Wait, what? Bond is dead?!
We did say “with spoilers” at the top of this article, so you have no one to blame but yourself here.
James Bond is dead, and no, not in a jokey way like in You Only Live 007 Nincs idő meghalni teljes film magyarul. He is blasted to smithereens by missiles on Lyutsifer Safin’s private island, and faces his annihilation with some sadness but also a proper stiff upper lip. He says goodbye to his one true love (more on that in a bit) and to his obligations to Great Britain and the Free World.
It’s undeniably moving. But I question — and perhaps you do, too — whether it is right. What are we as a society losing if we can’t rely on James Bond to get out of any tough situation? Surely Daniel Craig, Cary Joji Fukunaga and the 007 producers wanted to put some punctuation at the end of this, the more serious, post-9/11 era of James Bond. But is fundamentally altering the DNA of their character the way to go? Are there not some lines in the sand you do not cross? This goes beyond “Oh, he doesn’t get the girl” or even “Oh, the villain escapes his clutches”. This is taking a character that has been presented thus far as a god, and therefore a little ridiculous, and making him mortal. It’s a big change, and runs the risk of backlash.
I don’t want to sound too much like Kathy Bates in Misery, but I suspect many will feel this is a slap in the face. Bond needs to escape because these movies are escapism. Let other movies have realism: let Bond be Bond. And let’s make sure the producers of the next Indiana Jones film don’t get any ideas.
“She’s got my eyes,” Bond says to Dr Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux) upon meeting the adorable child Mathilde. She also looks about five, which is when Bond and Swann abruptly parted ways during the film’s pre-title sequence. Could she be …?
No, she’s not yours, Swann assures our secret agent, who has been living in sunny solitude in Jamaica catching fish and drinking Heineken-with-the-label-facing-the-camera all this time. And there’s a weird ambivalence we feel in the audience. It would be nice for James Bond to have a child (and a Craig-Seydoux spawn is guaranteed to have quite a look!) but anyone with as many enemies as 007 can not have familial attachments: too many movies have proven this always leads to sadness.
Later in the film 007 Nincs idő meghalni teljes film ingyen, though, Swann confesses that the child is indeed his, which, of course, he already knew. The image of James Bond running through the baddie’s HQ with a stuffed bunny tucked in his suspenders to bring back to the kid is one of the best things in this whole movie.
It’s just a number
When we first meet Lashana Lynch we think she’s just a typical James Bond hookup. Alas, there’s no time to smooch (surely this is the most sexless in the series so far?) because it turns out she’s not merely an MI6 agent, she’s been assigned the code number 007. “Thought they’d retire the number?” she asks, and Daniel Craig plays it cool.
No, he doesn’t like being replaced, but he also recognises that there are only nine “00” options. (Unless there’s a double-oh zero?) Craig, Lynch and Fukunaga play this development delicately. He’s our hero, but Lynch (a Black woman) is the future. And it is clear that she is more than capable. There’s some light ribbing between the two, then they recognise one another’s strengths. By the end, they are a team, and it seems likely that she’ll be back in the next chapter. What number she’ll have, and whether there will still be a “James Bond” at all, remains to be seen – though reports from those who sat through all the credits confirm the phrase “James Bond Will Return” is displayed. (I personally didn’t see it: with all the action on screen, there was no time to pee.)