I'll admit, I wasn't completely crazy about Quantum of Solace. Like Josh, I found it a little too opaque, a little too brutish, and not remotely satisfying on the character level. But I'm not going to tell you to avoid it; Quantum of Solace is still better than most action movies, and even does a few things better than Casino Royale did. Below is a list of five things that are better in Quantum of Solace; any of these alone is enough reason to see the movie, but all of them put together means you'll have a good time no matter what.
The Bond girl.
Even though Olga Kurylenko is a Ukrainian playing a Colombian, she kicks ass as one of the few Bond girls who actually gets to stand up for herself. She starts off as mere eye candy for the main bad guy, but halfway through the film emerges with a revenge motive of her own, and teams up with Bond only to make sure she'll get her way. Sure, Bond has to bail her out of a few tough situations, but she more than holds her own-- and looks amazing while doing it.
No offense to Mads Mikkelsen, the meanie card player from Casino Royale, but Mathieu Amalric brings the snaky Bond villain to a whole new level. He abandons the usual Bond villain gimmicks, like a cat or a bloodshot eye (again, sorry Mads), and plays someone so evil you would almost believe him as a nice guy. Plus, it's been a while since we've had a good villain with a French accent, and Amalric makes exactly the kind of baguette-eating, beret-wearing frog we Americans love to hate.
You know CNN's magic map, where they make states and electoral votes fly all over the screen? Just wait 'til you see the gadget they've got on hand at MI6 headquarters. It's pretty crucial for understanding half the plot, which involves a lot of traced cell phone calls and traveling gadgets, and brings Bond into the 21st century more successfully than pretty much anything else so far. Did I mention how badly I want one for my desk?
We've seen Bond tool around scenic European cities countless times, so this time director Marc Forster is bringing us south of the border. Pretty much the entire plot takes place in South America, with a brief stopover in Forster's native Austria, and the locations feel as real and unglamorous as Casino Royale's Venice was staged. The camera even takes moments to linger on the actual residents of these poor countries, a grounded moment that's strange for a Bond film, but oddly refreshing.
You've heard already that Quantum of Solace is the shortest Bond film and probably the most stuffed with action, but you'll still be amazed at how, 30 minutes into the movie, you've already gone through three action set pieces and a badass car chase. And that's before you get to the cat-and-mouse airplane fight and the desert explosions. Sure, action isn't what makes a movie good, but it is what makes you stand up in your seat and cheer-- and see the movie again to figure out how the hell they pulled it off.