I REALLY want to like this movie straight out as a standalone movie, as I am a self professed James Bond fan, or connoisseur to follow thematically our erstwhile hero. However this movie demands you watch it back to back with its prequal, Casino Royale, because the two stories are so closely intertwined (set as they are 1 hour apart), you could be forgiven for thinking that suddenly you are not watching James Bond, but as Time Magazine has noted, Jason Bourne.
Quantum’s problem lies in two key areas. The first is that being so closely aligned with the first movie, character development is lacking, relying on Casino Royale to fill in the gaps and as a consequence because the characters are only fleetingly visited, you have to REALLY concentrate on the who, what, where, when. The lack of dialogue and meaningful discourse between Bond and his on screen counterparts is replaced by the second problem area. Action. Or more correctly, Action, Action, Action and MORE Action. Sure, this is a Bond film, but lining up the action scenes like a domino set and then letting fly becomes somewhat… repetitive and predicatble.
Much could have been gained by an extra 15 minutes of dialogue between action sequences to fill in the gaps more and spend time in developing Daniel Craigs character, detailing more of Quantum itself and letting the “mother hen” nature of the M/Bond relationship evolve in a more mature fashion. In saying that, I’ve since watched Quantum again and gotten so much more out of it upon a second viewing, watching it back to back with Casino Royale.
However in saying all this, Quantum’s biggest problem, character & action points aside is the existence of Casino Royale, which so comprehensively reinvigorated the franchise that it was going to be a tall order to top that. On its own, Quantum is a good movie, worthy of a spy come action thriller.
But as a James Bond movie, which can stand alongside Casino Royale?
No. Close, but no cigar.