Phil Nobile's (Fangoria, BMD, noted James Bond diehard) (https://www.slashfilm.com/619007/no-time-to-die-review-daniel-craigs-swan-song-gives-bond-a-definitive-divisive-ending/?utm_campaign=clip) review:
QuoteAlan Moore once penned a great introduction to Frank Miller's 1986 masterwork "The Dark Knight Returns," a story that itself might be the Rosetta Stone to our current cultural fascination with crafting finales for our previously eternal heroes. In that intro, Moore cites the importance of "that element without which all true legends are incomplete and yet which for some reason hardly seems to exist in the world depicted in the average comic book, and that element is time." As Daniel Craig's run has been positively obsessed with the passage of time — from comments about his life expectancy in "Casino Royale," to whole films themed around whether he's too old or obsolete to do the job — it was perhaps inevitable that his tenure would end with a defined conclusion to his arc. Whether it pleases, frustrates, or enrages fans will be a topic of lively, constant debate until "Bond 26" is eventually underway, but "No Time To Die" is indeed an ending.
and Richard Lawson's much less enthusiastic review (https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2021/09/no-time-to-die-movie-review-james-bond-daniel-craig):
Quoteas No Time to Die finally arrives in theaters on October 8 after many COVID-related delays. It is perhaps the great theater-exclusive tentpole dream of the fall, that eager audiences wanting to zip off on another suave adventure while also saying goodbye to an entire generation's James Bond will flock to cineplexes and help revive a flagging industry.
I'm sure those audiences will indeed show up. What they will make of the film after they've seen it, though, is another question. At such considerable length, No Time to Die has room to be several films in one—part rollicking caper and part character drama of the sort set up in 2012's Skyfall, a film that made a deeper mythological figure out of our Etonian super spy, long admired for merely tossing off a quip or two and getting his daring job done. When Skyfall came out, earning over a billion dollars at the box office, it was to many an exciting reimagining of a creaky character (the fruit of a transformation begun, of course, with 2006's Casino Royale, Craig's first outing in the tux). He was given actual context and history and pathos that felt more in line with the blockbuster mores and customs of the day.
But then the trilogy became a quadrilogy with 2015's tiresome, extraneous Spectre, certainly a big hit but not the rumbling cultural event that was Skyfall. Craig couldn't go out on that sour note. Thus we have No Time to Die, the definitive—they swear!—conclusion of Craig's run and, presumably, the end of this particular stylistic Bond era.
I have no deep affinity for Bond. I just want to see him do cool stunts with gadgets and hang out with women in gorgeous locations. Thankfully, this achieves that. The Ana de Armas scene is a knockout. Phoebe Waller-Bridge's humor is sprinkled throughout the script. It's not Roger Moore level camp but the film isn't dour and self-serious. And the ending, while utterly asinine, is a lovely farewell to Daniel Craig. Hard not to be swept up in the emotion. I teared up. Lots of callbacks to the franchise. Typical arduous plotting and maddening exposition but the film generally moves swiftly.
I'd say the big disappointment is how pedestrian the action felt. The setpieces were rather generic and rudimentary. More handheld than expected. The 3rd act is mostly a shoot-em-up. Bond aiming at faceless henchmen in hallways. The woods scene from the trailers was probably the standout and fukunaga slips in an interesting tracking shot in 3rd act. The film did look superficially lovely, warm lighting.
But I still had a nice time. Better than Spectre but of course doesn't live up to Skyfall or Casino Royale. I'd rank it top 7 or so behind Skyfall, Majesty Secret Service, Casino Royale, Goldeneye, Goldfinger, From Russia
Daniel Craig and Léa Seydoux are meanwhile doing their best to convince us the romance matters. Their performances are good and heavy but gosh that isn't what I want interspersed throughout the middle of a Bond flick. Commercialized franchise-cinema to the bland-ification-point of ya basta.
Honestly, the film woulda worked better if its bulk had been comprised of Ben Whishaw, Lashana Lynch, and Ana De Armas. At least, it would have been a more engaging action film than this epilogue to the epilogues. As an attempt at 'character piece' it worked better for Madeleine than Bond, which just feelz odd.
Léa Seydoux is bad. Not awful, never. But she's bad. And her characters in Spectre sucked. But she's the one who comes back...Love of Bond's life...Okay...
I haven't seen No Time to Die yet, I've got time.
Thematically, the villain's weapon works well - but there's an entire dimension of 'drama' I couldn't buy into involving the two leads. Not to Seydoux's fault but the script's, from what I could note. She totally plays at Craig's level imo.
During the Ana de Armas-featuring mission you can get a sense for where the Broccoli family could take Bond, tone-wise.
The Ana de Armas sequence is a knockout. She's a true star. And you could really feel Phoebe Waller-Bridge's influence there.
The biggest issue is how Bond should not be an interconnected franchise and they backed themselves into a corner directly following Spectre. Craig does his best to sell Bond's love for Seydoux but they've been together what? 3 weeks?
The romance in Spectre was contrived as hell, and the whole drama in No Time to Die feels forced as well. (plus the two final scenes are both laughable)
I agree with WorldForgot that it works better as a Madeleine story than a Bond one, which reinforces the film's schizoid nature. Can this whilom alpha-male character (and whatever he represents) survive in 2021's society and modern culture? The film has an answer, though its suggestions aren't as subtle as it thinks they are (the recent Mad Max succeeds on that regard, imo).
I wasn't bored at all, I enjoyed the action sequences, and surprisingly wasn't bothered by Malek as much as everyone seems to be, but I just couldn't really care about the whole thing.
Craig's movies: Casino Royale > Skyfall >> No Time to Die > Spectre > Quantum of Solace (same ranking goes for the main villains).