No Time to Die is Daniel Craig’s last film as MI6 Special Agent James Bond. It depicts a tragic hero who burns to save the ones he loves. The premise begins like all Greek tragedies: a warrior finally at rest. He finds comfort in another person. But the past haunts and hunts him down. His peace is short-lived.
The conflict strikes, and the Spy in Love feels betrayed by the only person he trusts most. The rage makes him blind. He pushes people away. In his self-centered demeanor, the warrior fails to foresee the danger hovering over his lover. The fable soon turns into a tale of vengeance, where the antagonist chases the hero’s lover. But will our hero be able to shed his pride and save the only person he once shared his heart with? Will James Bond finally get atonement?
No Time to Die prologue sequence chronicles the childhood of Madeleine Swann, a psychiatrist whom James Bond met in Spectre (2015) and fell in love with.
Madeleine lives with her French mother in an isolated safehouse near a frozen lake in Norway. In a tipsy mood, Madeleine’s mother reveals that her father, Mr. White, is a murderer. Suddenly, a masked assassin, Lyutsifer Safin, breaks into the secured house and inquires about Mr. White.
In Ian Fleming’s James Bond Universe, Mr. White is a member of the criminal organization Spectre.
Lyutsifer Safin reveals that Mr. White killed his family, and he has come to take revenge. To send a message, Safin shoots Madeleine’s mother and hunts for Madeleine. She manages to run out of the house and falls into frozen water. Safin opens fire on her but soon changes his mind and rescues Madeleine.
‘No Time to Die’ Plot Summary
At the end of Spectre (2015), MI6 arrested Spectre’s mastermind, Ernst Stavro Blofeld, and Bond disappeared with his lady love, Madeleine Swann.
No Time to Die begins with Bond and Swann spending a peaceful time in Matera, Italy. During a festival, the town’s people burn their secrets and let go of the past to make room for new memories. Madeleine speaks about James’ past lover, Vesper Lynd, a double agent, who committed suicide in Casino Royale. Once betrayed in love, James Bond fails to accept Madeleine completely, and she can sense it. She requests Bond to visit Vesper, buried at the Acropolis, and forgive her.
The next morning, Bond visits Vesper’s tomb and finds a Spectre’s card there. Suddenly, a bomb explodes, and Bond runs to the hotel to protect Madeleine. Blofeld’s assassin, Primo, reveals to Bond that Madeleine is Spectre’s daughter, hinting at Mr. White. Bond confronts Madeleine and accuses her of hiding her secret and betraying him. After escaping Blofeld’s mercenaries, Bond leaves Madeleine on a train and parts ways with her forever. “You’ll never see me again,” Bond says.
Five years later, James is living a retired life in Jamaica. His friend and CIA agent, Felix Leiter, contacts him and informs him about an MI6 scientist, Valdo Obruchev. Obruchev has designed a biochemical weapon of mass destruction named Heracles for MI6. But Spectre steals it and destroys the lab. Felix requests Bond to find Obruchev and seize the weapon before it leads to any casualties.
Major Spoilers Ahead
What was Project Heracles? Why did MI6 design a Bioweapon?
In the James Bond universe, Heracles was a DNA-targeting weapon invented by a Russian scientist in a secret lab funded by MI6. Gareth Mallory, or M, greenlit Project Heracles and kept it off the books. The intention of designing such a deadly weapon was to save the lives of secret agents, i.e., to eradicate their enemies without any collateral damage.
Once triggered, Heracles released deadly nanobots programmed with the DNA information of their target. These microscopic bio-robots invaded the human body, even with the slightest contact with the skin. These invisible killers enter the bodies of even those who aren’t the targets. If the host ever came into contact with the target, these nanobots would kill him/her. “Once Heracles is in your system, it’s there forever,” Q added.
While MI6 designed it to target specific individuals, Valdo Obruchev modified these nanobots to kill anyone related to the targets. With further modifications, Obruchev could target a range from individuals to whole ethnicities.
Who stole the Project Heracles?
Spectre found out about Heracles (probably through Obruchev) and stole it. They took it to Cuba to present it as a gift to Blofeld on his birthday. Blofeld attended the meeting from Belmarsh Prison with the help of a high-tech “bionic eye.” James infiltrated the event to rescue Obruchev, and Blofeld commanded his men to kill Bond.
However, while setting the weapon, Obruchev replaced Bond’s DNA with the Spectre. The nanobot mist poisoned all the Spectre members and killed them instantly. Later, it was revealed that Valdo Obruchev worked for Lyutsifer Safin, who wanted to eradicate Spectre to take revenge for his family. Hence, the whole scheme was designed by Safin to seize the bioweapon and kill his nemesis, Spectre.
Though Bond failed to arrest Obruchev, he retrieved a pen drive from him. The special agent Q hacked the device and revealed that it contained the DNA of millions of people from all over the world. Bond and MI6 understood that Lyutsifer Safin was planning to unleash annihilation upon the world.
Safin gave the mist of Heracles to Madeleine and compelled her to pay her debts. In the prologue sequence, Safin spared Madeleine’s life, and in the present, he contacts her to carry the mist to Belmarsh Prison. He wanted to kill Blofeld, and only Madeleine had access to Blofeld’s cell.
Why did Lyutsifer Safin seek revenge?
Madeleine’s father, Mr. White, a high-ranking member of the Spectre, conducted several assassinations for the criminal organization. Madeleine informed Bond about one such assassination where Blofeld ordered Mr. White to assassinate the Safin family. They were Spectre’s poisoners, or toxicologists, who lived on an isolated island called Poison Island. For some reason, Blofeld wanted to get rid of them.
Mr. White held a special banquet for the Safin family and used their own recipe, Dioxin, in the desert. All the family perished, except Lyutsifer. The poison scarred him for life, and he came back to avenge his family.
Lyutsifer, or the fallen angel, followed the legacy of his name. He wanted to become a god and make the world a better place. Lyutsifer had curated a list of DNA to target with Heracles and eradicate them for the betterment of humanity. He told Bond that he is in the same profession as him, just that his methods are a little different. Bond commented on Lyutsifer’s tyrannical beliefs and said that history isn’t kind to those who play God. Through his statement, he subtly hinted at Hitler, who murdered innocent Jews, believing he was making the world a better place.
‘No Time to Die’ Ending Explained
Lyutsifer Safin kidnapped Madeleine and her daughter, Mathilde, and brought them to his Poison Island. The island had a secured chemical plant that dated back to the Second World War. It was built inside a submarine bunker to protect it from airstrikes.
Bond and new 007 agent, Nomi entered the facility and discovered that Lyutsifer had turned it into a farm/factory to mass-produce Heracles. Lyutsifer was trading the bioweapon with the world to ignite a destructive war. When Bond confronted Lyutsifer, he told Bond that Mathilde was Bond’s daughter. Bond tried to rescue Mathilde, but Lyutsifer escaped with her. Later, Lyutsifer changed his mind and let Mathilde go. He wasn’t looking for bloodshed. Lyutsifer told Bond that his methods were tidier.
In the end, Bond convinced M of a missile strike to explode the facility. Q informed Bond that missiles would be useless until he opened the blast doors of the bunkers. Bond opened the blast-resistant silo doors from the control room, and M requested HMS Dragon for an airstrike on the island.
Before the missiles could hit, Lyutsifer closed the blast doors again and attacked Bond in his father’s toxic garden. Bond overpowered Lyutsifer, but he tricked Bond and poisoned him with Heracles. When he took Madeleine, hostage, he took a strand of her hair as insurance. Bond probably took it to develop a tragic mist for Bond. He said that now both of them are in a tragedy of their own making. Lyutsifer died because of Heracles, and he gave the same curse to Bond. If he ever touches or goes near Madeleine and Mathilde, he would cause their deaths too.
Bond shot Lyutsifer and killed him. He opened the blast doors for the missile to destroy the facility. However, even with all this victory, Bond couldn’t return back. The deadly nanobots in his bloodstream would kill the only beings he loved the most. The explosion becomes Bond’s funeral pyre, and he sacrifices himself as a tragic Greek hero.
M and other agents paid their tributes to Bond. Madeleine returned to Matera with Mathilde, and while driving, she recited the story of a man named Bond, James Bond.
No Time to Die is a 2021 action thriller film directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga. It is Daniel Craig’s last film as MI6 Special Agent James Bond.