NO TIME TO SLEEP: HERO COLLECTOR GOES TO THE MOVIES

NO TIME TO SLEEP: HERO COLLECTOR GOES TO THE MOVIES

NO TIME TO SLEEP: HERO COLLECTOR GOES TO THE MOVIES

Unless you've been living in a vacuum over the past year, you'll be aware of the latest 007 outing, No Time To Die, which made its way into cinemas some 18 months after originally intended.

So, in true Hero Collector style, and because we are a dedicated bunch, we rolled up to the first 00:01 screening of Bond 25 on Wednesday night (or Thursday morning, however you wish to look at it) to bear witness to Daniel Craig's final ever Bond film as the the iconic spy, to see if it really did live up to the hype.

Without further ado, here are our thoughts on the latest action adventure, starring Craig, alongside Lea Seydoux, Naomie Harris, Jeffrey Wright, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Whishaw and Christoph Waltz.

Chris Thompson, Brand Manager

It’s always exciting to see a new James Bond film – especially on the big screen. I still remember my Dad taking me to see For Your Eyes Only (when I was far too young) on opening weekend, and since then I’ve made a point of trying to do the same for each subsequent instalment. So, after numerous delays and false starts over the last 18 months, I was excited to finally catch No Time To Die at the midnight screening in the BFI IMAX.

Unlike previous Bonds, the Daniel Craig era has been typified by an overarching plotline that continues between films. This was half-heartedly attempted during Timothy Dalton’s short tenure in the mid-to-late ‘80s, but this latest attempt feels more like the Netflix/modern television model where everything has room to breathe and contributes to one larger story arc rather than being strictly episodic or standalone.

That approach probably played a factor in the selection of director Cary Joji Fukunaga (True Detective) for this final film in the series, but was he able to stick the landing? For the most part I’d say it worked, but it feels like a real struggle in this last entry as there’s so many characters and situations to deal with, while still introducing some new elements. How do you give everyone enough screen-time, and provide a compelling resolution to their personal story arc, even if you have almost three hours in which to do it?

The answer, sadly, is that you can’t – but it’s a fitting swansong for Craig’s Bond, as well as Jeffrey Wright’s CIA agent Felix Leiter. I’ve been following Wright’s career since the incredible Basquiat in 1996, and I’m looking forward to his turn as Jim Gordon in The Batman, so his presence is always a welcome sight. Similarly welcome are new faces Ana de Armas (as CIA agent Paloma) and Lashana Lynch (as the new 007) who make great, albeit brief appearances, and I hope (but doubt) we’ll see more of them. I’m starting the petition for their own spin-off film series now.

Meanwhile Lea Seydoux’s Madeleine Swann feels underserved despite being such a key part of the film; and Rami Malek’s Lyutsifer Safin (Lucifer Satan?) makes for an interesting villain, but we don’t see enough of him (or understand his motivations) to really justify his presence – he feels more like a plot device than a fully fleshed out character. Musically, however, this is probably my favourite Bond film of the current era. From Billie Eilish’s perfectly on-brand opening titles to Hans Zimmer’s wonderfully lush score, and finishing with the unexpected (but absolutely spot-on) reintroduction of a classic Bond theme – it’s rich in music from beginning to end.

My biggest concern with No Time To Die is that it comes across a little like the last film in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, where the hero behaves somewhat incongruously with their traditional core values and, as a result, neither sits right with me. I know the idea in both cases was to change things up, and they certainly did that, but there are certain key elements that lie at the heart of both characters which feel fundamental. Despite its flaws, No Time To Die is big on spectacle, so for me it’s a case of ‘the bigger, the better’. Go and see it in a cinema (they need your help!) and try to catch it at the IMAX if you can.

Melisa Kumas, Social Media Manager

As a relative newcomer to James Bond, I went into the film with no expectations other than excitement for a critically-acclaimed spy series. Previously, each movie was set to be its own story without mention of the ones that came before. With the start of Daniel Craig as James Bond this narrative was changed, but while there are certain mentions of things that happened before that might excited the true Bond fans, I feel that this did not take away the ability to watch these films as standalones. Though it’s true that I do have some insight knowledge into the world of Bond, I feel it’s no more than anyone that has heard of the series.

Its beginning started off fast-paced and set the tone for the rest of the film. One thing that really did excite me after watching the trailer was the idea of a new female 007 in a world dominated by men. The excellent Lashana Lynch serves as the new agent under the 007 codename in the years since Bond left MI6. Although No Time To Die serves as a wonderful ending to Daniel Craig’s tenure, I wish we’d have been able to see a bit more of the new characters as well. Perhaps we will be able to do that in a future 007 film.

Mike Williams, Content Manager

Ever since 2006's Casino Royale I've had a love-hate relationship with the modern Bond franchise. From the highs of Casino to the underwhelming nature of Quantum of Solace, each instalment felt like a rollercoaster ride that, I hoped, would eventually end on a high.

The opening of No Time To Die is extremely promising, combined with the Billie Eilish theme song I've listened to countless times over the past year or more, its thrilling chase and action sequence is one to rival anything seen in Craig's debut and the sublime Skyfall. It has to be said that his last 007 movie is a fitting end to his tenure as the more rough-around-the-edges (and blond!) secret agent that proved all the critics wrong.

In truth, the movie is a bit of a mixed bag. I loved seeing it on a true IMAX screen and in all its packed, cinematic glory, with a script and story that feels classically Bond but not as compelling as his best outings to date. That said, Craig's final Bond movie needs to be seen, to complete his arc as well as your own, offering a conclusion that is a poignant and suitable way to end his 15 years as the suave British icon.

Moving forward, I'd love to see the women characters written into the franchise in a more meaningful and compelling way. Naomie Harris' Moneypenny has established herself well over the course of the last few movies, but Ana de Armas is criminally underused, and Lashana Lynch certainly deserves a meatier role in the future films or within her own spin-off movie series.