One of the issues Catholics have been dealing with for sometime is the way intelligence agencies tend to use various forms of torture as a means of information gathering. At the beginning of Quantum of Solace, for one interested in that debate, it is clear that James Bond has no problems with its use, and he is using it to extract information from Mr. White. But it is also clear that Bond fails. While Bond and M learn that there is a criminal organization which MI6 do not know about, they also learn that members of that organization are all over, and people they had learned to trust might actually be working in or with it. While the interrogation ends in disaster, Bond gets just enough information to begin his one-man search throughout the world to find out more about that organization (Quantum) and to get revenge on them for what they did to him in Casino Royale. In this fashion, Quantum of Solace can be said to be Casino Royale: The Extended Last Act.
From the start of the movie, it is clear that it is to be seen as a sequel to Casino Royale and it serves to bring some sort of closure to the events around Bond’s conflicted feelings for Vesper. It is also trying to continue the story behind Bond, to be a prequel of sorts to what we know is to happen in later Bond stories. There are many nods to the Bond series, perhaps too many of them for one who knows the series; it’s clear Quantum is being modeled after Spectre. But we are, by the end, left uncertain as to what direction the current Bond franchise will go: will it create new stories or try to redo old, classic Bond adventure? That we get various premonitions of future Bond stories indicates, to me, that the producers might end up going the route of re-doing them, in some fashion or another. While many have made known that there is a reference to Goldfinger in the film, I think one of the characters in the story looks too much like a young Jaws to be a coincidence.
With James Bond films, one knows the story will transverse the world as James tries to find out about and stop some super-villain. The same is said to be here, with the rather enjoyable, but understated. Dominic Greene. While I do not want to give too much of the plot away, think of an Stilgar from the Dune series, looking for ways to make money off of the ecological crises of the earth, and you will have a sense of who Greene is. I am rather glad he is not over-the-top, because it makes him more human and more enjoyable. But, as good as that part of the story is, the action sequences, I think, are some of the worst in the series: gone are the clear lines of sight, and instead, we get Bourne-like sequences which are difficult to follow. Why the director thought James Bond needed to follow the style of a different action series is beyond me. Beyond that, the fact that the movie seems to go back and make James Bond not yet “complete” as it appeared he was at the end of Casino Royale, causes some concern as one watches the film: one wants to hear his trademark “Bond, James Bond” and to see him care about the drinks he imbibes. It is for those minor glitches, combined with the fact that it does not live up to the expectations one has after Casino Royale, that I must give it a 3 ½ / 5 stars. It’s good, it is enjoyable, but it sort of wanders away from what we want out of Bond too much.