The 25th James Bond film and the fifth and final of the Daniel Craig era is, at north of $250 million, the most expensive and, at 2:43, also the longest. Whoever keeps this kind of franchise going has done his/her homework for this one, and the results will not disappoint.
Even if it fails to offer anything essentially new (well until the final scene), it hits all the fan-mandated marks: tricked-out Aston Martins (vintage and new), which of course function underwater; elaborately choreographed shootouts; oily, maniacal villains who plan to rule the world; sultry Bond girls; and shaken-not-stirred martinis. And it hits those marks spectacularly. Big screen, please.
Cary Fukunaga directs. Remi Malik plays the villain (meh), who uses intravenous nanobots to do his killing (well that’s going to fire up the anti-vax morons), Lea Seydoux is the main love interest, Jeffery Wright is Felix Leiter, Ralph Fiennes is M, Ben Wishaw is Q, and Ana de Armas shows all too briefly for a gunbattle in Cuba.
A charming aspect is that it lifts bits from nearly all its predecessors and weaves them into the narrative, or at least the background.
It’s unabashedly conventional, classic but not campy, and carries an emotional impact that Bond films were not known for prior to Craig’s era. Connery was a suave womanizer, Moore a clown, and Brosnan humorless. Craig’s layered, nuanced, human performances changed all that.
Going forward. We meet the new 007. Where that’s going, I don’t know. But I do know that Craig will be a tough act to follow. (163 min)