I just finished watching No Time To Die on Amazon Prime. In the past- like, before the dawn of the 21st century- it would have been unthinkable of me to wait for a Bond film to be released to video (as us old-timers used to say) before viewing it. I saw every Bond adventure, no matter how crappy (and the Roger Moore films were mostly pretty crappy) on the big screen soon after they were released from 1974 to 1989. I was never a fan of Brosnan so I waited to watch his films at home (they are bad) and saw only the first Craig Bond films at the theater.
Anyway, what a slog the last Craig "adventure" was. It took forever to get going, as it attempts to drown the viewer in pretention and foreboding and gloom etc. etc. We figure out pretty quickly that this is the last Bond Girl's back story and man we don't care. Whatever happened to having a Bond mission make up the pre-title sequence? Instead we get one that is all about his relationship with this woman and it ends with a breakup, wow such high stakes I'm on the edge of my seat again.
This movie quite literally never gets started. I think a plot is introduced about a half hour in and then we are on an island with an evil guy who is Evil Because He's Evil- no wait, he's evil because he's obsessed with the Bond girl from long ago and again this is all very personal and angsty and BORING. I guess he's going to release a deadly toxin and do a planetary reset like Stromberg wanted to in The Spy Who Loved Me and Drax attempted in Moonraker but it's really not clear because we never get to see the villain explain it, but jeeesh the story isn't told in any kind of compelling way. We get half an hour of Bond this other secret agent who is kind of in the film as the new 007 but not really killing everyone on the island except the bad guy who apparently just remains in hiding till he's the only one left....I really don't know. I was just bored.
Then Bond dies and we are supposed to care. Frankly, I was more than ready to see this Bond die. He's been dying since Casino Royale anyway, going through life with a grim pout on his face carrying personal baggage like a cross on his back and trying to convince us that his personal life is compelling but sorry it just never was. I don't want to see Bond as a loving husband and I sure don't want to see him as a daddy. I don't want the villain to be his stepbrother or in love with his girlfriend. This isn't Twilight for crissakes. I want to see a lone killer saving the world from a lunatic, not a lovelorn sap.
So goodbye, Mr. Craig, I guess you'll be missed by millions who inexplicably loved your Bond but I am not one of them. And when this series resets again- in 2029 or so, based on the franchise owner's ineptness at putting out chapters- I may or may not sign on. It really depends on if we get back to basics or not. If we are handed another round of this Human, Personal Bond, I think I'll give it a hard pass and watch You Only Live Twice again. That one has an evil villain, a cat, and a coherent Plan. And a Bond who doesn't give a damn about anybody or anything except the Mission. You know, as G-d -- and Ian Fleming- intended.