The Search for the New James Bond: Here are the Top Contenders for the Next 007

'No Time to Die' reviews say Daniel Craig's epic (and long) final Bond outing is 'worth the wait'

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Sep 28, 2021, 8:35 PM EDT

The first reviews for No Time To Die are in, and most critics agree the film is not only a great sendoff to Daniel Craig as James Bond, but also a film that builds off of 2015’s Spectre and ends with a surprising finale.

“Director Cary Fukunaga delivers it with terrific panache, and the film also shows us a romantic Bond, an uxorious Bond, a Bond who is unafraid of showing his feelings, like the old softie he’s turned out to be,” writes Peter Bradshaw in The Guardian. He went on to call the film, “startling, exotically self-aware, funny and confident, and perhaps most of all it is big: big action, big laughs, big stunts and however digitally it may have been contrived, and however wildly far-fetched, No Time To Die looks like it is taking place in the real world, a huge wide open space that we’re all longing for.”

John Nugent at Empire Magazine also had high praise for the film, saying the movie “does things that no Bond film has ever done, and despite relying heavily on tropes that feel not only familiar but comforting, it is the unfamiliar things it does that make this such an exciting entry.” Nugent went on to praise Fukunaga’s portrayal of Craig’s Bond: “He somehow finds vulnerability in this most invulnerable of heroes, with a stunning, surprising finale that gives Craig the send-off he deserves,” he wrote. “When a formula is this hard-and-fast, even the slightest tweaks feel exciting. Raise a martini — it was worth the wait.”

Others praised Craig’s performance, as well. Peter Hammond at Deadline said the actor has taken us on “an especially emotional roller coaster in some ways for the usually unflappable spy we first encountered in 1962 when Connery starred in Dr. No.”

Jason Solomons at The Wrap also gave Craig accolades. “No Time to Die will be remembered for its emotional impact above all,” he said. “And, to cap it all, Craig may well have delivered the most complex and layered Bond performance of them all.”

Another thing that critics agreed is impressive about the film is its run time. At 2 hours and 43-minutes, it’s the longest Bond film to date, and some thought it was to its detriment. Brian Lowry at CNN Entertainment described it as, “a big and length-wise bloated epic that includes the desired bells and whistles, which, despite its flaws, should buy the movie considerable goodwill from an audience that has waited (and waited) for it.”

Scott Mendelson at Forbes also had issues with the movie’s length, among other things. “When No Time to Die is trying to be ‘just the next James Bond movie’ for its first hour, it’s quite good,” he wrote. “But when it reverts course in acts two and three and tries to be an explicit sequel to Spectre, well, it’s hard to make a tasty souffle from flawed ingredients.”

By and large, however, most critics so far have been impressed with the film, with some saying it's one of the better Bond films we’ve seen in awhile. Nicholas Barber at BBC.com calls No Time To Die “not just another episode in a long-running action-movie series, but a film that has come to seem like the cultural and economic event of the decade.” He goes on to write that it “does exactly what it was intended to do, which is to round off the Craig era with tremendous ambition and aplomb. Beyond that, it somehow succeeds in taking something from every single other Bond film, and sticking them all together.”

No Time To Die — also starring Léa Seydoux (Dr. Madeleine Swann), Lashana Lynch (Nomi), Rami Malek (Safin), Christoph Waltz (Blofeld), Ana de Armas (Paloma), Ralph Fiennes (M), Naomie Harris (Eve Moneypenny), Ben Whishaw (Q), Rory Kinnear (Bill Tanner), Jeffrey Wright (Felix Leiter), and Billy Magnussen (Logan Ash) — premieres in the U.S. on Friday, Oct. 8.