I received a special request the other day to review Quantum of Solace, and I suppose I really ought to. I was disappointed by Casino Royale, because it portrayed 007 as human and vulnerable - which made it an excellent spook story, but a very poor Bond. On that basis, I fully expect the requestor to make an appearance in the comments section with an extended critique on the failure that is QoS, because I rather liked it.
I still don't think Daniel Craig looks comfortable in a tux, but now he seems to fulfill the promise of those steel blue eyes by learning how to play the proper Bond - not yet suave, but sufficiently nonchalante. Supremely confident and infinitely competent, he represents the presumption that keeps monarchy alive in the 21st century, that there is a need and a use for an independent moral authority. This Bond's duty is not to M. and not to the Prime Minister, but to his country and to the free world; he is the agent in Her Majesty's Secret Service, and I am not talking about MI6. Both the screenplay and Craig's performance supported the viability of the myth of Britain as a cultural export.
Quantum of Solace missed some of the core features of a 007 film - the gorgeous Aston Martin DBS was woefully under-utilized, and Q. failed to make an appearance at all, but I am only realizing that as I write this now; therefore, the film is a success. It had the visibly insane villain, part of a sinister secret organization, with a grandiose, but semi-viable plan to hold the world for ransom. It had the exotic Bond girl, with a stand-by tying into the dream of England. It had the characters of spies who stayed true to their ideals, even as others around them fell from grace. And it had action scenes that managed to be exciting without resorting to fashionable gimmicks like parkour (although I do wish they would stop with the Bourne-style shakycam photography).
It even managed to give a satisfactory explanation for the title to those who cared to look for it. So thumbs up to Quantum of Solace, and a hearty "welcome back" to Bond, James Bond.
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