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‘No Time To Die,’ Always Time For Brilliance

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Editor’s Note: This review contains spoilers for “No Time to Die.”

The iconic British Secret Service agent James Bond returned yet again in the 25th official 007 film, “No Time to Die,” on Oct. 8, marking the end of Daniel Craig’s 15-year portrayal of the titular character. Originally scheduled to air in April 2020, the film’s release was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, forcing fans to sit restlessly in anticipation of what shocking twists and turns the movie would employ as a farewell to Craig’s time as Bond. But now, the wait is over. Although there is “No Time to Die,” there is always time for brilliance when it comes to 007. 

The film follows James Bond (Daniel Craig) — now retired from MI6 after a supposed betrayal by his lover Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux) — as he is recruited by the CIA to rescue an abducted scientist. During his mission, he discovers “Project Heracles,” a bioweapon with the ability to target a specific individual’s DNA, making it lethal to the target but otherwise harmless to anyone else. With help from Swann, new 007 agent Nomi (Lashana Lynch) and Q (Ben Whishaw), Bond embarks on a mission to take down Lyutsifer Safin (Rami Malek), who plans to use “Project Heracles” to wreak havoc on the world and establish a new order.

Photo provided by James Bond @007/Twitter

“No Time to Die” is, at its core, another classic James Bond film, complete with the trademark gun barrel sequence, technical briefings with Q, modified cars, chase scenes and Bond girls. It offers the same recipe to audience members with slight modifications. The plot cannot be considered revolutionary: a villain threatens to destroy the world in some unimaginable way, and Bond tries to stop him. However, the formula exists because it works. Although somewhat predictable, it adds excitement and enjoyment to the film, keeping viewers on the edge of their seats regardless of its clichés. 

One of the film’s highlights was the opening sequence. Featuring singer-songwriter Billie Eilish’s “No Time to Die” as the opening theme, the cinematic sequence uses stylish symbolism to convey the core ideas of the film. Images of clocks, cogs and hourglasses appear throughout the song, echoing Bond’s loving words to Swann as he promises their future together: “We have all the time in the world.” The line is made even more powerful with its heartbreaking callback in the finale. The most breathtaking scene has to be the guns and bullet trails that form the double-helix structure, foreshadowing the importance of DNA in the film. The bullet trails form portraits of various characters such as Bond, Swann and Vesper Lynd (Eva Green), whose existence plays a large role in Bond’s belief of Swann’s betrayal. The artistic choices present in the opening sequence make it a breathtaking spectacle worth witnessing.

Photo provided by James Bond @007/Twitter

As a film marking the end of Craig’s Bond, “No Time to Die” does more than simply begin a transition for the franchise. Following another CIA agent’s betrayal, Bond and Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright) — his longtime friend from the CIA — are trapped underwater with seemingly no place to escape. Leiter is fatally wounded, and despite Bond’s attempts to save him, Leiter ultimately dies. The character had been part of the franchise every time the CIA was involved, and his death early on in the film sets the grave tone for its remainder — perhaps there is some time to die, and maybe not just for Leiter but for Bond as well. 

Sadly, viewers’ worries were proven to be correct by the ending of the film. After killing Safin, Bond stays on the island to ensure that the missiles destroy the bioweapon factory once and for all. With the missiles closing in on him, he realizes that he does not have enough time to escape and bids goodbye to Swann as he accepts his fate. This is the first film of the franchise where Bond is presumed dead at the end. In the past, Bond has been thought to be dead during the film and is later proven to be alive; however, never has there been an ending that has left viewers believing there is truly no way for Bond to be revived. As an appropriate end to Craig’s 007, the film leaves many wondering where exactly the franchise could head from here. 

At its conclusion, however, “No Time to Die” gives viewers a surprising promise: “James Bond will return.” Without a doubt, his revival in the next film will be another brilliant spectacle, one that a different actor will need to showcase. Craig’s time as Bond is over, but he concluded his time with a film full of exciting action, artistic cinematic choices and never-before plot elements. “No Time to Die” is the end of an era worth witnessing for all fans of the iconic 007 agent.

Grace Tu is an Entertainment Intern for the fall 2021 quarter. She can be reached at