With reviews and reactions ranging from middle-aged men crying with approval to ok-I-was-wrong admissions, Daniel Craig's debut as Bond played to his strengths, rescued the franchise and made you feel that a golden age could be only a better script away. Sure, the card game was no 'Cincinnati Kid' and the ending so over-the-top that it belonged in a disaster movie, but there was enough darkness and menace to make you eager to see where this rough-around-the-edges loner Bond would go next.
Well, the doubters are going to be vocal again and there might be some blubbing with confusion from others because 'Quantum of Solace' gets more wrong than right - the only place Bond has gone is two steps back.
Picking up straight after the death of Vesper Lynd in 'Casino Royale', 'Quantum of Solace' finds Bond out for revenge and seemingly out-of-control.
He discovers that the man pulling all the strings is Dominic Greene
(Amalric), an eco philanthropist whose real passion is destabilising
countries and plundering their resources. On the run and running out of time, Bond strikes up an uneasy alliance with Camille (Kurylenko), another agent with her own scores to settle.
A little more conversation a little less action. A smartass sentiment but one that sums up everything that's wrong with 'Quantum of Solace'. Big on the setpieces at the expense of drama and depth - bizarre given that director Marc Foster made 'The Kite Runner' and 'Monster's Ball' - it's difficult to see anyone except those aged under 10 declaring it their favourite Bond film. With a running time of 106 minutes, the whole thing plays out like a desperate rush to get from one scene to the next; where characters aren't developed and the plot is never as important as the next bang. Tellingly, the person you feel most for watching is Craig the actor, not who he's playing. He is a great Bond, but this film is flatter than his stomach.
Two films into the new era it's time for a rethink again and to throw more out than is kept in. The villains have become very dull (Amalric isn't any more sinister than 'Casino Royale's Mads Mikkelsen), the globe-hopping is tiresome (what's wrong with setting the whole thing in one city or country?) and the powers that be need to let Craig take the character into the territory he so obviously wants to take him. He is brilliant at summoning up the inner turmoil and the best scenes here are the ones where he just talks. They've got the right man for the job; they just need to do right by him.
The alternative is to let viewers keep thinking of the one name that keeps coming up watching this: Jason Bourne.