After an 18-month Covid-induced delay the premiere for No Time To Die – Daniel Craig‘s final outing as James Bond – took place at the Royal Albert Hall on Tuesday, with Craig stepping out alongside co-stars including Lashana Lynch, Lea Seydoux and Ana de Armas to introduce critics and stars alike to the Cary Joji Fukunaga-directed blockbuster.
The Daily Mail’s Brian Viner gave Bond’s ‘daring, tense and explosive’ 25th outing four stars, writing that ‘the thunderous ovation that rocked the venue as the end credits rolled was not misplaced’.
Teasing an ending that ‘no one saw coming’, Viner hailed No Time To Die as ‘a triumph’, gushing: ‘[No Time To Die is] an explosive, tense, daring, and most of all surprising adventure, toying with our preconceptions about the world’s greatest secret agent and exploring his personal life more intimately than ever before.’
Finally here: After an 18-month Covid-induced delay the premiere for No Time To Die – Daniel Craig’s final outing as James Bond – took place at the Royal Albert Hall on Tuesday
Four stars: The Daily Mail’s Brian Viner gave Bond’s ‘daring, tense and explosive’ 25th outing four stars
Addressing the film’s 163 minutes run-time, Viner assured readers that ‘the breathless pace rarely slackens’.
Touching upon the fact that Craig’s fifth and final outing as Bong was filmed in a post Time’s Up era, Viner notes: ‘Is there now a danger of the character tilting too far away from the callous ladykiller of yesteryear, becoming 00-woke?
‘Yes, there is. However, not least of the achievements of this exciting movie is that it feels progressive, while staying faithful to the spirit of Bond.’
Viner concluded: ‘This is a serious film, and it will leave you seriously blown away.’
Leading man: Daniel, 53, oozed sophistication ahead of his final outing as James Bond when he walked No Time To Die’s world premiere red carpet on Tuesday
Other critics were equally roused by Craig’s final performance as Bond, with The Guardian awarding the blockbuster five stars and critic Peter Bradshaw hailing the film as ‘startling, exotically self-aware, funny and confident’.
Empire offered an impressive four stars, branding No Time To Die an ‘exciting entry’ into the 007 universe and urging viewers to ‘raise a martini’ because ‘it was worth the wait’.
However The Independent’s Clarisse Loughrey was less content when the credits rolled, branding Craig’s ‘last hoorah’ as ‘disappointing and strangely anti-climactic’ before mustering up just three stars.
Digital Spy was another publication to award the flick four stars.
Ahead of the screening Craig chatted away to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at the Royal Albert Hall.
Also at the star-studded premiere were Billie Eilish, Rami Malek, screenwriter Phoebe Waller-Bridge, director Cary Joji Fukunaga and Naomie Harris.
It has been a long road to Tuesday night’s premiere after the film’s release was delayed several times due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The film was originally scheduled for release in April 2020, but was pushed back to November before the release was changed once again to April 2021 in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
Dazzling: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were also in attendance at No Time To Die’s World premiere
Looking good! The Duchess of Cambridge appeared just as impressed with Daniel’s pink suit as he was with her show-stopping gown
The release date was finally settled for September 30 in the UK followed by October 8 in the US.
Ahead of the release, Daniel and some of his fellow star cast members joined the Chris Evans Breakfast Show with Sky to talk about the movie.
Daniel, who has appeared in five Bond films over 15 years, told Chris: ‘After the last one, I thought that was it. I thought, ‘I can’t do any more of these’.
‘I got a bit of a rest and we kind of talked about what we wanted to do with this last movie and how big we wanted to go, and it felt right, and I just got really excited about it, and I can’t wait for people to see it.
Team Bond: Finneas O’Connell, Billie Eilish, Rami Malek, screenwriter Phoebe Waller-Bridge, director Cary Joji Fukunaga, Ana de Armas, Lashana Lynch and Naomie Harris all posed on the carpet together
‘I saw a rough cut of it about a month after we finished, which is really rough, because there’s no special effects or anything. When you see that version of it, you just hope and pray that it makes sense, and it did.
‘Once you get the effects, and you get the music, Hans Zimmer’s done the music, and it’s just incredible. The story holds together.’
‘Everyone is just turning in brilliant performances, and I think it’s quite special.’
Speaking about the enforced delay to the film’s release due to the pandemic, the actor said: ‘It’s odd enough with a movie, when you’ve finished it, and you put it out and you kind of go, ‘Woah, I hope it’s good.’
Close bond: Naomi Harris and Lashana Lynch shared a joke at the star-studded event ahead of the much-anticipated screening
‘But when there is a two-year gap between finishing it and putting it out, it just makes things even stranger.’
On where he was when he first found out he had got the role of Bond: ‘I was in Baltimore doing a movie. And I was in Whole Foods, doing my weekly shop, wandering around with a trolley with food in it, and (producer) Barbara Broccoli was on the phone, and she just went, ‘Over to you kiddo.’
‘So I got my trolley and I pushed it quietly down an aisle, walked into the booze section and bought a bottle of vodka and a bottle of vermouth, a glass and a shaker, took it home and drank it, and then went out and sat in a bar and drank about three more vodka martinis.
‘It’s really sad, actually, when you think about it. But, I must have had a sort of look on my face, because the barman kept asking me what was going on, and I said, ‘I can’t tell you!’
Release: The release date was finally settled for September 30 in the UK followed by October 8 in the US
Daniel recently addressed the outdated James Bond plotlines of past films in the franchise – such as the idea of glamorous disposable so-called Bond girls.
Speaking to Lorraine Kelly, he said of the spy series – which sees latest movie No Time To Die released this week – that ‘you’ve got to adapt’ with the times.
‘Certainly a lot of what went on in the earlier movies is sort of questionable now… different times, but we didn’t want to lose the essence [in the new film]. It’s still a Bond movie.
‘I’ve been given free range to put my influence on it, but I’ve never forgotten that. We can have all key elements and things people have loved over the years, but you adapt.
On the franchise, Daniel said: ‘Certainly a lot of what went on in the earlier movies is sort of questionable now… different times, but we didn’t want to lose the essence [in the new film]. It’s still a Bond movie’
‘One of my biggest things is all the characters, especially the women, have to be brilliant and believable.’
Daniel also told Lorraine about becoming overcome with emotion when he shot his final scene as Bond.
‘Everybody turned up – all the heads of department came down, and I thought ‘Oh God, I have to make a speech, this is my worst nightmare.’ It all just came out, I tried to keep it together.
‘All of those people I go to work with every day, particularly on this movie, the collective effort was so huge and meant so much to me that everyone put that hard work in – that’s what I’ll miss so much.’
Changes: The movie was previously supposed to come out on April 2, however its original release was supposed to be in April 2020 (pictured Daniel Craig)
No Time To Die is the 25th film in the franchise, and finds Bond after he has left active service and is enjoying a tranquil life in Jamaica when his old friend Felix Leiter, played by Jeffrey Wright, from the CIA turns up asking for help.
Leaving his seemingly happy life with Madeleine (Lea Seydoux), Bond returns to the field to face Safin (Rami Malek) who is armed with a new dangerous technology that could impact the world.
Producer Barbara Broccoli has already teased what fans can expect and said that the movie will deliver a satisfying ending for Daniel’s Bond.
Speaking on the official James Bond podcast, she said: ‘It’s a culmination of everything that his portrayal of the character has been through and it ties up all the storylines. It’s a pretty epic film, I have to say.’
Daniel took over the role of Bond from Pierce Brosnan in Casino Royale in 2006 and went onto appear in Quantum of Solace in 2008, Skyfall in 2012 and Spectre in 2015.
History: Daniel took over the role of Bond from Pierce Brosnan in Casino Royale in 2006 and went onto appear in Quantum of Solace in 2008, Skyfall in 2012 and Spectre in 2015