Quantum of Solace (2008)
Corrupt to the Core
Warning: this review does contain a few vague spoilers.
Quantum of Solace, the direct James Bond sequel to Casino Royale, stars Daniel Craig as 007, Olga Kurylenko, and Mathieu Amalric.
That's right, this is a sequel instead of a stand-alone story. It doesn't take place a few months later, but immediately after the events of Casino Royale. This should have meant that Quantum has everything that made its predecessor so great, but it certainly doesn't. The only similar parts are the names of the characters and events that already took place.
Actually, almost everything I liked with the Casino Royale disappeared in this movie. I could barely bring myself to watch it again because I found it so unlikeable.
The family-style relationship 007 had with MI6, especially with M, is nowhere to be seen in Quantum of Solace. Instead, we are forced to stomach repeated trust issues on both sides. Sure, there are hints that M doesn't lose everything she was before, but we see an organization and government who are constantly questioning what everyone, especially 007, is doing. No government, and no agency, would ever be run this way as nothing would ever get done.
And whatever happened to denying involvement? The big caught-on-camera moment would never have happened the way it did, especially the part where a British Spy can be so easily identified by mass-media. He didn't even say a bloody word, so how do they even know where he's from? Gah! That just doesn't make any sense!
Although, the part that bothers me the most is the way Bond purposely leaves out key information when talking to MI6, especially when he's accused of doing something terrible. So much of this movie is like a giant smear campaign, and the one being smeared would rather roll around in the excrement that is being thrown at him than redirect it with the truth. Even a man hell-bent on revenge wouldn't be that stupid.
There's also no light to balance out the constant barrage of darkness. I commented in my Licence to Kill review of how something amusing is needed to lift us out of a depressing story, but that never happens in Quantum of Solace. And, no, a brief off-camera sexual escapade is not enough to lighten the mood. It is times like this that I miss the numerous remarks and the outlandish ideas made by the earlier versions of Bond.
Even the villains feel extremely weak. The huge villainous plot is nothing but a thirst for a very small bit of power. Sure, it would suck for those affected by it, but is it worthy of a MI6 agents willingness to sacrifice his life and reputation to stop?
Worse yet, their plot is nothing compared to the amount of corruption that is seen by the governments and agencies that are willing to let all this happen. Yeah, they don't really know what's going on, but even for the greedy reasons they ignore it for are bad enough. The villains that Bond stops aren't the true evil in this movie, those are completely ignored.
And in the end, somehow Bond is alright, and his revenge is cooled, even though nothing really happens to complete that story! With so many known members missing, I don't understand how he was satisfied with the conclusion of his adventure. It just didn't feel like it was enough to end the pain caused by the huge twist in Royale. So, very disappointing.
I had so much hope for this movie, especially with how much I loved the franchise reboot, but there is so little for me to like about Quantum of Solace. Thanks to its persistant dark story, and the overwhelming and uncontrolled corruption that is never addressed, it feels like what is done in this movie is just a drip in a massive ocean of evil. If it wasn't for the action scenes, I wouldn't recommend ever watching this movie, but, as it is, I would recommend watching once just to find out what happens to key characters after the events of Casino Royale.
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