Quantum of Solace gets a lot of flack for not being on the same level as Daniel Craig’s other Bond films: Casino Royale and Skyfall. I, for one, am a staunch Quantum defender. There’s no doubt it’s not the movie that the other two are, but that doesn’t mean it still isn’t a great film. Solace works best if you watch it directly after Casino Royale in a doubleheader, because this really is the second act to that film and it picks up the second CR ends.
Quantum gives us a Bond we’ve never seen before and begins the character journey that Craig’s Bond has traveled through his film. Though he’d never admit it, Bond is in full-blown mourning for Vesper the entire film. It’s a sensation he clearly is not comfortable with experiencing. The plot introduces a secret organization behind the events of CR and not really mentioned again in Skyfall, but we can see now that this film did a lot of groundwork to set up SPECTRE. Madeline Swann in SPECTRE is the daughter of Quantum’s Mr. White. I think revisiting Quantum after SPECTRE will show that this organization has been coming down the pipeline from the very beginning.
The film does have a definite Achilles’ heel in Mathieu Amalric as the film’s villain. Upping the game with Oscar-winners Javier Bardem and Christoph Waltz in the next two films was a wise move. I’ve also heard Olga Kurylenko called the worst Bond girl for her performance, but that I don’t understand at all. She IS the only Bond girl I’ve seen that Bond didn’t sleep with. She was more a partner in grief, and I thought in that role served well. The set pieces in Haiti with the boat chase and the aerobatics in Bolivia plus the peerless opera scene are all fantastic Bond moment, but I’m partial to the gravity defying fight between Bond and an antagonist all up and down a perilously rickety scaffolding.