The supporting cast all fit nicely into their respective roles. Mathieu Amalric delivers one of the best performances of a Bond villain in years. While the part may not be as iconic as Blofeld or Goldfinger because he has no “gimmick,” the actor does make Mr Greene real. The Bond girls Olga Kurylenko and Gemma Arterton do admirable jobs, but their roles are merely window dressing. At least the filmmakers have realized that Bond doesn’t need a female partner a la Halle Berry. Having said that it would seem that Bond sees action everywhere but the bedroom. If he’s not careful Craig’s Bond could become as monastic as Timothy Dalton’s “new man” of the 1980’s – and we all know how… ahem… wooden he was.
Judi Dench’s M is much improved this time around and her relationship with Bond does show growth, but I still feel that if they were rebooting the franchise they should have dropped her too. Bond needs a father figure, not mothering. His relationship with Felix Lieter (Jeffrey Wright) is also warming up too and Leiter’s character is more than Bond’s one dimensional American buddy for the first time in years.
While there is much to praise about the Quantum of Solace I do have a few niggles. It wouldn’t hurt to have more of that theme music in there and why switch the gun barrel opening to the end of the film? Also, if at some point they are going to have to reintroduce Q and Moneypenny – why keep holding it off? After all Moneypenny is only a secretary and Q is a piece of walking plot exposition. I’m sure Haggis, Purvis and Wade can fit them in without too much trouble.
Quantum of Solace is Bond at his best. Thrilling and entertaining, this new outing highlights yet again why this franchise has been around for over 45 years. While many will try and highlight the Bourne-ification of James Bond they seem to forget that this is the cold blooded killer created by Ian Fleming in the 1950s. Bond isn’t aping Bourne – it’s the other way around. While the action may be more visceral and frenetic it is still pure Bond.
Quantum of Solace puts Bond back on top. I really can’t wait for James Bond to return…