I hate to be a spoilsport – I was looking forward to this, after all – but the direct follow up to Casino Royale fails to capture what was satisfying about the franchise reboot. The action scenes lack clear choreography, the storyline is thin to the point of non-existent, the girls have nothing on Eva Green, and the villain is lame. Whereas Royale was one of the best Bond films, Quantum of Solace will go down as one of the more forgettable.
The story begins almost immediately after Royale concluded, following Bond as he searches alone for answers about the death of his murdered lover, Vesper Lynd. By the end of the movie, neither he nor the audience are much wiser about what’s going on. It’s all just some noisy, barely interesting stuff about bad guys in league with governments taking over corrupt countries and controlling natural resources (Try summing up this film to a friend – I bet you’ll have trouble).
Much has been made of the new Bond going back to basics. But in deciding to ditch the fantasy and go more realistic, the filmmakers have found a weird in-the-middle territory. Despite a promise to remove all the silly gadgets, the computer displays at MI6 are not too dissimilar from the 2054 A.D. readouts in Minority Report. And Bond’s leap out of an aeroplane without a parachute is pure fantasy (not only because the CGI looks completely fake).
The huge saving grace is Daniel Craig. He’s a great James Bond – much-praised on his first outing, but confirmed here as a great choice. At times he has a frightening look of brutality in his eyes. He’s dangerous, and a magnetic presence because of it.
Thankfully, the relentless pace keeps the film moving along, and the credits are rolling well before the two-hour mark. To be fair, Quantum has a few good bits in it. But as a Bond film, and following Casino Royale, it’s definitely a let down.