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As the first ever direct sequel in the 22 film James Bond franchise, and the second film in the reboot series that started with Daniel Craig’s debut as 007 in Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace both impresses and disappoints. The impressive parts far outweigh the disappointments, however both sides of the coin need to be examined to fully see the film for what it is.

On the base level QoS is a direct sequel, heavy in the continuing story of Bond’s revenge crusade against the organization that plotted against him and turned his true love, Vesper Lynd, against him in the closing moments of Royale. The film picks up in a high chase sequence through the Italian countryside with Bond escorting Mr. White (whom he shot in the final moment of CR) to a meeting with M (Judi Dench) where things don’t go as planned. The organization’s reach is far beyond anything MI6 had envisioned and as the swift one hour-forty-five-minute film concludes the audience is left with a satisfied feeling.

Quantum is one long action sequence as director Marc Forster (Finding Neverland) never lets up from the gas peddle from the teaser sequence until the fiery ending in the Bolivian desert. They are chases on land, sea, and in the air, shoot outs, more free-style running with nary a moment for Bond to catch his breath before he’s on a plane to another country and involved in another shoot-out. The rapid pace of the film makes its already abbreviated running time feel even shorter. This could also be one of the film’s biggest weaknesses as the runtime doesn’t provide a lot of time for the character to be explored anymore than what we saw in Casino Royale. Here Bond is vengeful, hell-bent on destroying the organization that claimed his glimmer of happiness and in a borrowing of plot lines from both Die Another Day and License to Kill, he goes semi-rogue, even though M knows what he is doing at all times.

Still without anytime for Bond’s development, he falls into a 2D character that constantly milking the franchise over the past 40 years has produced on occasion. Even worse off is the film’s supposed big baddie in Mr. Greene (Mathieu Amalric) who is even less developed and never imposing enough to be seen as a threat. Greene plays the political game and is very hand’s off, much like CR‘s Le Chiffre, however where the dearly departed villain could stand toe to toe with Bond, even going so far as to torture him, Greene looks like a school boy and never oozes the confidence we’d like to see in a Bond villain.

Aside from the never ending comparisons to the franchise reboot predecessor, to which this film doesn’t quite approach in quality, Quantum is a great entry into the franchise and as an extension of Casino Royale rather than a separate film, its unparalleled in its quality with a satisfying ending and the door open to continue along the development of Quantum (the organization) and its dealings in the world as MI6 is no where closer to unraveling what makes them work at the conclusion of this film.

Quantum of Solace is a must for any Bond, Bourne, or action-movie fan, and while die hard franchise skeptics who won’t watch anything sans-Connery will be keen to spout off against the film and its declining quality in comparison to other films in the series, after the spectacular show that was Casino Royale, it was going to take a miracle to really top that masterpiece.