FILM REVIEW | No Time to Die

James Bond is a generational icon.

Around for more than 50 years in our screens, 007 lives in the hearts and minds of people of all ages, across the globe.

Daniel Craig, the 'blonde Bond', has filled the MI6 agent's shoes for 15 years now, and has helped produce some of best entries in the long and storied series.

But with the 25th Bond film, No Time to Die, Craig has steadfastly called time on his spy career (something we've all known for a couple of years now), paving the way for a new James Bond.

The latest film, directed by True Detective's Cary Joji Fukunaga, follows on from the events of the not-particularly-great Spectre. This is a shame, because the film requires audiences to remember what happened in a rather unmemorable Bond entry.

No Time to Die opens with Bond and Madeleine Swam (Lea Seydoux) enjoying a romantic European getaway.

But, of course, the blissful times don't last and the pair are separated.

Five years later, Bond is retired and loving life in Jamaica. He receives a visit from his old CIA buddy Felix (Jeffrey Wright, Westworld) and is thrust into the action-packed espionage world again, chasing after a scientist with SPECTRE connections.

The plot itself is average at best, and relies a lot on the audience buying into the Bond and Swann dynamic.

But there are moments of classic Bond greatness, and important moments for the series going forward.

Ana de Armas (Knives Out) is excellent and an utter scene-stealer in far too brief appearance as Paloma, an ally to Bond while on a mission in Cuba.

Bond is back: The long-awaited 25th James Bond film brings Daniel Craig to the screen for his final outing, alongside Ana de Armas, in No Time to Die, rated M, in cinemas now. Picture: MGM

Bond is back: The long-awaited 25th James Bond film brings Daniel Craig to the screen for his final outing, alongside Ana de Armas, in No Time to Die, rated M, in cinemas now. Picture: MGM

From her joyfully goofy enthusiasm for the job, to her complete capability against generic baddies, Paloma is a breath of fresh air. Not to mention her utterly stunning and instantly iconic midnight blue dress - designed by Aussie Michael Lo Sordo.

No one would be upset if she found herself back in the series on another occasion.

Mysterious baddie Lyutsifer Safin (Rami Malek) has nothing on Bond's best villains, but does have a rather enjoyable first appearance.

Lashana Lynch (Captain Marvel) is brilliant as another 00 agent, a task that would not have been easy, despite how well she performs it, and Billy Magnussen (Game Night) is thoroughly enjoyable as Felix's offsider.

As always, returning stars Naomie Harris, Ralph Fiennes and Ben Whishaw are reliable and lovable.

No Time to Die's action is pretty great without being overly memorable, and overall it's probably the third best entry in Craig's Bond era.

Fans will no doubt be divided over the ending (not to be spoiled here) - some will say it is fitting, others will question certain choices.

Whoever takes over the 007 mantle in the next film has big shoes to fill.

But they have All the Time in the World to get it right.

Rating: 6.5/10

This story No Time to Die film review: Blonde Bond era reaches its end first appeared on Campbelltown-Macarthur Advertiser.