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‘No Time to Die’ isn’t perfect, but it’s a solid swan song for Daniel Craig

After 18 months of waiting, the latest installment in the James Bond saga is finally arriving the in theaters. A swan song for actor Daniel Craig, who has portrayed 007 since 2006′s “Casino Royale,” “No Time to Die” debuts in the U.K. on Friday before opening domestically Oct. 8. The 25th Bond film isn’t perfect, but explosive stunt sequences and a magnetic performance from Craig are enough to overcome a complicated plot and long run time, critics say. Years after apprehending Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Christoph Waltz), the main antagonist of 2015′s “Spectre,” James Bond has retired and is living a quiet life in Jamaica. When an old CIA agent contact asks for help with one last job, Bond finds himself confronting the sinister Safin (Rami Malek) as well as the woman he once loved Madeleine Swann (Lea Seydoux). “No Time to Die” currently holds an 83% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes from 138 reviews. Here’s what critics thought of Craig’s final James Bond film ahead of its U.K. opening:

A.O. Scott, The New York Times

It’s clear throughout “No Time to Die” that the film’s producers and writers were keenly aware that this was Craig’s final turn as the iconic 007. A.O. Scott of The New York Times said the film “is uncommonly preoccupied with memory and leave-taking,” in his review of the film. “Mortality looms over the quips and car chases — not only the expected slaughter of anonymous minions, but an inky cloud of grief, loss and weariness,” he wrote. Bond refers to himself as “an old wreck” and Craig, 53, plays the part of a man who’s survived battle, but has not been left unscathed. ″[Director Cary] Fukunaga has a crisp, stylish way with action, and some of the set pieces have the flair and inventiveness of musical numbers, most notably a party in Havana where Ana de Armas shows up to play Cyd Charisse to Craig’s Gene Kelly,” Scott said. “That sequence feels like a throwback and an update, reprising the Bond tradition of elegance, charm and high silliness.

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