Starting a franchise such as James Bond over was not an easy task. Yet Casino Royale was such a success that following it with a direct sequel, the first in the history of 007, seemed like an even bigger, and more delicate, bet.
Quantum of Solace starts almost exactly where Casino Royale left off. Following Vesper Lynd’s death, 007 captured the mysterious Mr. White, and hands him over to M to ask him a few questions. That is how the MI6 discovers the existence of a large, unknown organization that looks to “have people everywhere”. Following a lead in Haiti, Bond encounters a man who seems to be highly-ranked in that shadowy organization: one Dominic Greene, a classy Frenchman interested in South American natural resources.
Offering the job of helming the new Bond movie to Marc Forster, who up until then had only directed heavy dramas or quirky dramedies, was audacious.
Especially since Quantum of Solace’s screenplay hosts more action sequences than in Casino Royale. Iт fact the first 15-20 minutes of the film are all about action, so much so that at one point, I wondered if the film’s adrenaline was ever going to subside. It may sound exciting on paper, but there comes a point when you want the film to take a breath, the characters to develop, the plot to grow. Fortunately, after those first 20 minutes, Quantum of Solace finds its pace. A pace that does not exclude action (on the contrary), but a pace that also, and foremost, continues defining the character of Bond.
After so many films when 007 was just a super spy who made his charm act shagging and killing without any real deep interest in the human being behind the number, the diptych that is Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace manages to draw the spy and make him more alive and fascinating than ever. Quantum may have a more simplistic screenplay, with secondary characters less developed than in Casino, but the dynamic of the film is a natural echo to the previous installment, making it as gripping as it can be.