Gemma Arterton and Daniel Craig in Quantum of Solace

Quantum Leaps to a New Level

"Quantum of Solace" is the 22nd official movie in the James Bond franchise and welcomes back Daniel Craig in the iconic role as the suave British agent James Bond. Not bad considering that before Craig made "Casino Royale" many critics and journalists claimed that he wouldn't cut the mustard and be able to do justice to such a well known character, oh how wrong they were.

Picking up pretty much where "Casino Royale" left off and we discover James Bond (Daniel Craig - Layer Cake) is on a dangerous mission to uncover the truth as to why his beloved Vesper betrayed him, whilst also keeping one step ahead of M (Judi Dench - Ladies in Lavender), the CIA and a sinister underground group lead by the diabolical Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric).

Judi Dench as M in Quantum of Solace

Although "Quantum of Solace" picks up the storyline perfectly from where "Casino Royale" left off it is certainly much different to Craig's first outing as James Bond. This time round there is a much darker feel to "Quantum of Solace" and has a real sense of mystery about it, a very cloak and daggers affair. This doesn't spoil it at all and makes it a much more intense movie to watch than many of the previous James Bond outings. At times it feels like "Quantum of Solace" is setting the scene for further follow-on movies as it leaves various plot elements open rather than concluding everything in a nice neat package. Some may find this difficult to watch for this exact reason as there are many unanswered questions, but for me it made it all the more intriguing and would hopefully make further Bond movies carry on in telling a story, rather than being standalone movies.

One of the main differences with "Quantum of Solace" to other James Bond movies is it lacks the humour which has become part of the franchise. There are still moments which will bring a wry smile to your face but gone are the days of being corny. When I watched "Casino Royale" I thought they had done a great job of stopping Bond feeling too much like a spoof but here they have gone a step further and turned it almost into a very serious, dark thriller. This is to be honest quite appropriate seeing that one of the themes running through "Quantum of Solace" is that Bond is still grieving the loss of Vesper and is after revenge but at the same time I missed the occasional amusing quip.

But although "Quantum of Solace" lacks the humour it certainly doesn't lack the action and it is seriously superior to "Casino Royale" on this front. From the opening sequence to the final moments "Quantum of Solace" hugely relies on big action sequences to keep you entertained. Part of me feels that the director, realising that the storyline was darker and left many unanswered questions increased the amount of action to compensate. Not that I am complaining, watching Bond has always partly been about the action and "Quantum of Solace" doesn't let you down.

What is particularly surprising is that "Quantum of Solace" is short; I mean it is only 95 minutes and compared to other Bond movies I am pretty positive this is the shortest. But although short and leaving those unanswered questions it is actually quite a good length and any longer would have left me wondering if they were dragging out the storyline just for the sake of it.

Daniel Craig carries on the stellar work he put in with "Casino Royale" and once again he is more than capable in the role of Bond. My only criticism and this is not really of Craig but those behind the production is that I missed the humour he delivered so perfectly before. But then I would say his performance as the brooding Bond is one of the best I have seen since Connery donned the suit.

Bond would not be Bond without a few leading ladies and these come in the form of Olga Kurylenko, Gemma Arterton and Judi Dench whose portrayal of M is becoming increasingly pivotal to the success of this current run of Bond movies. Plus of course we need villains and taking on the role of evil Dominic Greene more than capably is Mathieu Amalric.

What that all boils down to is that "Quantum of Solace" is basically a follow up to "Casino Royale" it is part of an ongoing journey for Bond which I feel will continue into the next movie whenever that maybe. It differs greatly to other Bond movies and is probably the most serious and darkest to have been made, which may end up alienating fans of the original Bond movies but in changing track and becoming more grown up it has a greater appeal to newer audiences who spurned the comic capers of Bond back in the 80's and 90's.