Poor James Bond, always having such bad days at work. Wouldn’t it be nice to see Bond just, like, chill out for a while? But no, the man can’t even retire without getting dragged back into the spy game. The first trailer for No Time to Die, the beleaguered Bond movie which marks Daniel Craig’s final performance as 007 (probably, he’s said that before, but maybe this time it will stick) was released this morning and it looks cool. Bond trailers always look cool. That’s never the problem with this franchise. The problem with this franchise is often over-plotting, as Bond movies demand complex spy thriller plots and plenty of setups for ludicrous action sequences. The most ludicrous action sequence teased in this trailer is the motorcycle jump—I laughed out loud. But then, Bond movies, for all the self-importance of the Craig era, have always walked the line between cool and preposterous, so it’s not necessarily a dig that No Time to Die has a wacky action set piece.
Over the course of Craig’s tenure, the odd numbered Bond movies have been the good ones. Casino Royale and Skyfall are the first and third Craig Bond movies, and they’re best by far. Die will be Craig’s fifth Bond movie, which bodes well, as history suggests this will be one of the good ones. Of course, it’s impossible to tell from this trailer, slick as it is, as there are practically no plot hints at all. Impossible to tell what is going on. We know from the official plot synopsis that when the movie opens, Bond is retired, and a new agent has (probably) taken on his 007 designation. That new agent is played by Captain Marvel’s Lashana Lynch, and she is not here to f-ck around. I love her delivery of the line, “The one that works.” It’s the “Ok boomer” of spy sh-t talk.
Lea Seydoux returns, reprising her role from Spectre, as does Christoph Waltz as Blofeld. The connections to Spectre are a little concerning, as that is one of the not-good Craig Bond movies. But there is also Ana de Armas, recently delightful in Knives Out, as another Bond girl, and Ben Whishaw is in cozy knitwear, so that’s at least one thing going for No Time to Die. Put Paddington Bear in cozy knitwear and the world is instantly 3% improved. And then we get a glimpse of Rami Malek in burn scar makeup as the villain “Safin”, who seems to have a connection to Lea Seydoux’s character.
The real question mark for No Time to Die is Phoebe Waller-Bridge, and what sort of changes she can work in such a long-running and established franchise. Bond movies have a language all their own, and I wonder how much room for reinvention there really is—in that way, Bond is rather like a superhero franchise. I’ve no doubt she’ll put her stamp on it, but she is one of FIVE writers on Die. I’m interested to see how much we can see of Waller-Bridge in the final product. This trailer, at least, doesn’t show any substantial difference from previous Bond movies. The specificity of this franchise means that, at a glance, it all kind of looks the same. Let’s hope the full film has something new to show us.
Attached: Daniel Craig, Rami Malek, Lashana Lynch, Lea Seydoux and Cary Fukunaga in Time Square promoting 'No Time To Die' on 'Good Morning America' on December 04, 2019.