No Time to Die's first trailer is the best Bond movie since Skyfall.

Daniel Craig's last outing as James Bond 007 seems hellbent on further pushing the Bond franchise outside of its comfort zone -- and inspiring and admirable feat considering how stuck in its formulaic ways the franchise has been throughout its 57 year history. 

Directed and co-written by the great Cary Joji Fukunaga, with Fleabag's Phoebe Waller-Bridge also working on the script, Craig's final outing as Bond has a Skyfall visual aesthetic but pushed closer to Fukunaga's more modern and inventive and experimental style. (That camera move early on in the trailer, that literally turns things upside down, is a very visual and figurative mission statement for the film's intentions.) 

Watch the trailer below: 

We also see Craig's Bond get the "G.I. Joe" accessory treatment, sporting some tactical gear sweaters, gloves, and uniquely-placed holsters for his Walther PPK. Unlike the second teaser poster for Spectre, which featured Craig wearing a version of Roger Moore's black "tactle-neck" turtleneck and brown leather shoulder holster from Live and Let Die that did not appear in the movie, No Time to Die is making sure the outfit appears in the movie -- and not just as a marketing ploy. And Bridge's dialogue is all over the characters -- which is a good thing. Especially that "shoot you in the knee that works" bit. 

Long story less long: For a franchise that's been around for almost six decades, it's only in the last 13 years that the Bond movies have really played with and taken experimental risks -- both creatively and visually -- with their neverending and un-killable super spy.

From his attire (the gloves!) to tinkering with Bond's iconic Gun Barrel opening -- like Skyfall before it, No Time to Die has found a way to use the sets and locations of the film to pay homage to that signature visual, this time with Bond quickly stepping out into a long sewer tunnel resembling the inside of the gun barrel and then abruptly turning to camera to fire his gun. 

Also, the upgrade to the machine gun turrets hidden behind the headlamps of Bond DB5 Aston Martin (they're now mini .50 cal mini-guns) is another great "plus-ing" of what came before. Keeping it familiar, giving audiences what they are used to but in ways they don't expect. 

Bond_sweaterCredit: MGM

Here is the plot summary: "Bond has left active service and is enjoying a tranquil life in Jamaica. His peace is short-lived when his old friend Felix Leiter from the CIA turns up asking for help. The mission to rescue a kidnapped scientist turns out to be far more treacherous than expected, leading Bond onto the trail of a mysterious villain armed with dangerous new technology."

What You Can Learn

If and when we are ever afforded a chance to play in a sandbox as expensive and legendary as a Bond movie, find ways to embrace what came before -- what audiences want -- by giving it to them in ways they didn't know they needed. Subvert expectations, play with tropes -- and the audience will keep coming back and reward you for your efforts with their box office simply on the virtue of you having even made the attempt. 

The fact that the franchise, at this stage of its life, has the balls to break what has helped solidify it as a Hollywood institution is another reason why the Craig legacy represents such a vital turning point. The moment he walked on screen in 2006's Casino Royale -- this was a Bond interested in breaking with tradition and getting down into the gritty, messy, drinking-booze-before-a-blood-dripping-reflection toll the job of a killer spy has on the man forced to do it.

Someone, someday, should do a feature-length, warts-and-all doc on the making of this era of the film series. For while some of its swings have been misses -- think Spectre's ret-con'd (and emotionally dishonest) screenplay and Quantum of Solace's meh attempt to turn Bond into Bourne -- the ones that have hit truly resonate with both fans and general audiences. Leaving them insert shaken but not stirred pun here. 

No Time to Die hits theaters April 8, 2020.