No Time to Die

No Time to Die ★★★

[AMC Alderwood 16 in IMAX]

When I was a sophomoric moviegoer, I bought tickets as a sophomoric moviegoer, I reviewed as a sophomoric moviegoer, and I enthused as a sophomoric moviegoer. But when I became a man, I put away sophomoric things — including my deliberate pursuit of, revelry in, and recommending of movies that glorify gun-wielding heroes in a world where it is increasingly clear that such glamorization of guns fuels the fires of a toxic ideal of masculinity and power. I can't oppose the death cult of MAGA gun-lovers and then turn around and give two thumbs up to this kind of big-screen male icon.

(Why does Bond love guns so much anyway if, as the parade of misguided women who worship him seem to suggest, he doesn't need to compensate for any, um, lack? Isn't it pretty clear to everybody by now that the love of firearms is a symptom of deep insecurity and fear?)

In other words, I'm over James Bond. The whole idea of the character and his legacy is immature, misogynistic, and invested in the elevation of a promiscuous and arrogant murderer as a sort of god man.

Having said that, there are some decent action sequences here (especially in the first half); some glorious Skyfall-ish cinematography from Linus Sandgren; a surprisingly fun turn from Ana de Armas; some kickass supporting work from Lashana Lynch; a radiant, romantic performance by Léa Seydoux; and what will probably be remembered as one of the most exciting eyeballs in movie history.

Oh, and Billie Eilish sounds pretty great on an IMAX sound system.

But in the end, as explosive as the last act is, it still feels anticlimactic for the Daniel Craig run as Bond. As the movie becomes increasingly honest about the character's history of bloodshed, it can't come up with a memorable redemption story for him, and so I say farewell to this iteration of the character neither shaken nor stirred.