It’s been a long time coming, but Daniel Craig has finally arrived on the big screen with his final turn as James Bond in No Time to Die. Long-delayed because of the pandemic, it was starting to feel like we were never going to actually set eyes on this film, but it is now just a week away. The reviews are starting to pile up and the first reactions to the movie are in. Things are looking very much like this will go down as one of the best James Bond films yet.
While the actual release for No Time to Die in the United States isn’t until October 8th, the film had its official opening at Royal Albert Hall on September 28th and a United Kingdom release on September 30th. With the review embargo officially lifted, we are starting to get the reactions to what Daniel Craig and company put out as their farewell story. It’s trending overwhelmingly positive with the Rotten Tomatoes score sitting at 84% (70 on Metacritic) through 134 reviews. Critics are giving it considerably high praise for the story, special effects, casting, and specifically the way they handle the final curtain call for Daniel Craig as Bond.
No Time to Die is Daniel Craig’s fifth turn as James Bond, having taken over the role in 2006s Casino Royale. If the current Rotten Tomatoes score were to hold, it would make it the third-highest reviewed film of his run trailing only 2012s Skyfall (92%) and the aforementioned Casino Royale (94%). Some critics of this latest are still calling it the best one from his version of the franchise with a couple even calling it one of the best movies of the year. That’s high praise especially considering the expectations around the film and just how long it has taken to finally get into theaters.
The original timeline for No Time to Die was going to have it in theaters in November of 2019. What a different world that was. After Danny Boyle’s departure from the film, it was pushed back to the spring of 2020. And we all know what happened next. The pandemic hit and theaters shut down. The entire movie industry, and the world, was thrown into disarray. Because Universal didn’t have its own streaming service to plop the film, they chose to ride out the pandemic until theaters were once again operating at, or near, full capacity. That meant more than a year’s wait, which is finally over now.
While, from a critical perspective, No Time to Die is going to land as a hit almost no matter what happens over the next week, the box office numbers could be a different story. The previous two iterations of the franchise, Skyfall and Spectre did $1.1 billion and $881 million respectively in worldwide ticket sales. It isn’t likely, considering the new world order around brick and mortar theaters, that we see those kinds of numbers for this latest installment. But considering James Bond is still a big commercial draw and that this is Daniel Craig’s last run, we could still see a big turnout relative to pandemic theater ticket sales.
After this No Time to Die run, the next big question for the franchise is who will play James Bond next. All kinds of names, faces (and genders) have been thrown out there, but the decisions aren’t likely to come for some time. For now, enjoy the last Daniel Craig James Bond experience, critics sure have.