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TBritain’s soft power flagship returns, in a movie from theaters during the toilet paper shortage era, based on a literary character conceived when the rationing of sugar and meat was still in effect, and is now emerging in cinemas as the British are fighting for gasoline on the forecourt.

Bond, like Norma Desmond, is ready for his close-up again – and Daniel Craig once again shows us his beautiful Shrek face and adorable bat ears, dotted with scars from yesterday’s punch, lips still pinches of determination or disgust.

No Time to Die review: Daniel Craig ships James Bond with panache, rage – and hugs |  No time to die
Lashana Lynch and Léa Seydoux in No time to die. Photograph: Dan Jaq / Nicola Dove / Allstar / MGM / Universal

And Craig’s latest film as a British intelligence diva is an epic barnstormer, with Neal Purvis’ screenplay Robert Wade with Phoebe Waller-Bridge delivering pathos, action, drama, camp comedy (Bond will call M “honey” in moments of irritability), heartbreak, grisly horror, and shockingly silly old-fashioned action in a film reminiscent of Dr. No’s world on his island.

Director Cary Fukunaga delivers it with terrific panache, and the film also shows us a romantic Leap, an uxorious Leap, a Leap who is not afraid to show his feelings, like the sweet old man he turned out to be. .

A nauseous and dreamlike prelude alludes to a terrible formative trauma in the childhood of Dr Madeleine Swann (a beautifully reserved Léa Séydoux), that enigmatic figure we saw in the last film and who is now enjoying a romantic getaway with James. . But a shocking act of violence destroys their romance, as we knew, and Bond does some spectacular stunts as he throws himself off a bridge.

It all has a lot to do with a sinister biological warfare plan called ‘Heracles’ developed by M (Ralph Fiennes) with the help of renegade scientist Obruchev (David Dencik) – but the creepy boffin and weapon are stolen from an absurd action comedy sequence, incidentally involving a brooding, quarrelsome scientist played in the cameo by Hugh Dennis.

MI6 and the CIA both want this man back – but the British Secret Service doesn’t care to implicate Bond who is now retired in Jamaica, possibly in tribute to the vacation retreat of Ian Fleming, and Mr. handed over his 007 status to a new agent Nomi, elegantly played by Lashana Lynch.

No Time to Die review: Daniel Craig ships James Bond with panache, rage – and hugs |  No time to die
‘Another in the endless gallery of antagonists who have conceived a personal obsession with Bond himself’… Rami Malek. Photograph: Dan Jaq / Nicola Dove / Allstar / MGM / Universal

But Americans, in the form of his ex-pal Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright) and tense new State Department member Logan Ash (Billy Magnussen) persuade Bond to take the freelance job and l ‘send to Cuba, where he liaises. with an untrained agent: Paloma – a witty, supernatural ride from Ana de Armas whose relationship with Craig is reminiscent of their chemistry in Knives Out. There is something really bizarre about the Cuban nightclub scene, bringing us a henchman with a surreal glass eye.

The horrible truth is that M allowed “Heracles” to be compromised by the frightening Blofeld (Christoph Waltz) who is being held by the British in Lecter’s imprisonment, but managed to lead this new plan from his cell. high-tech, but who is now himself under attack by the city’s new ubervillain – Safin, played with sulky disdain by Rami Malek, another in the endless gallery of antagonists who have engineered a personal obsession with Bond him -same.

No Time to Die review: Daniel Craig ships James Bond with panache, rage – and hugs |  No time to die
‘A witty and supernatural tour’… Ana de Armas. Photograph: Dan Jaq / Nicola Dove / Allstar / MGM / Universal

It’s of course a festival of absurdity and complication, a dizzying world of giant plot mechanics moving like a Ptolemaic universe of menace. Maybe nothing in it lives up to the drama of Bond’s hurt, rage-filled feelings at the very beginning. But it’s very nice and happily spectacular – Craig, Seydoux, and Malik are selling it very hard and you can see the fun everyone takes in this gigantic, ridiculously watchable entertainment that feels like half its actual runtime.

And the big finish shows that the franchise model 007 is still capable of surprising fans – and it could be that the world of Bond has taken something from the Marvel and DC universes, with their own sense of cartoonish grandeur and mystery. No Time To Die is surprising, exotically self-aware, funny and confident, and perhaps most importantly that it’s big: big action, big laughs, big stunts and as digitally as it could have been invented, and as wildly drawn by the hair, Non Time To Die seems to take place in the real world, a huge open space that we all yearn for.

No Time to Die releases September 30 in the UK, October 8 in the US and November 11 in Australia.