Now I think Dark Knight Rises is a good film. But the real highlight for me when I saw it was the IMAX Special Skyfall trailer that played right before it. Now I love James Bond films. I especially love ‘Daniel Craig as James Bond’ films. His stint as Bond, Skyfall seemingly included, shares a particular theme as Nolan’s Batman trilogy. They are both exercises in the tearing down and rebuilding of iconic characters in a different form than the preconceived notions of the mass fan base. Much like Dark Knight Rises will be panned in the coming days by critics who didn’t see it as a satisfying display of their expectations, Quantum was panned for that very reason.
Casino Royale is amazing. Stupendous. Terrific. Adjective after adjective synonymous with good. I loved how Craig portrayed Bond. His attitude. His wit. His determination. He really got to the meat of the character. A good man. A man who wants to do whats right. A man who will not accept defeat. And a man who’s feelings about resorting to extreme violence to accomplish his goals rival that of even Dexter himself. The film gave you everything. Great action. Great acting. Great villains. Great set pieces. Bond girls. Mystery. I could go on. The film, however, ends on a cliffhanger. An acceptable one, but a cliffhanger none the less. That fact is where Quantum of Solace comes in. That fact is why I think Quantum of Solace is MISUNDERSTOOD.
Dark Knight Rises is not a stand alone film. It is the culmination of an arc. Its a cog in a giant machine. Accept it for that and any negative opinion you have may sway a bit. That said, Rises takes place YEARS after The Dark Knight. It at least has that bit of a buffer between stories to start fresh as a film. Quantum gets similar criticism because people say it doesn’t feel like a complete story. And I don’t blame people for thinking that. They are right. Quantum of Solace is not a stand alone film either. It is just the very long final act of Casino Royale. Quantum is a direct sequel. Its the ONLY direct sequel in the Bond franchise. And the damn thing takes place mere MINUTES….MINUTES after Casino Royale. If you view it in that light, it makes more sense as to why it is the way it is.
I wish they would do a version where they stick Quantum at the end of Casino and play it out, much like what Quentin did with Kill Bill. The movie would be Lord Of The Rings long but it would be one grand arc of Bond’s origin story. Quantum is about Bond’s rage. Its the result of what happened to Vesper at the end of Casino. That is not a stand alone theme for a movie. It is a great theme for a final act. I watch it with that in mind and always enjoy the hell out of it. I mean, its not like it has horrible acting…its still Craig as Bond…and he’s perfect. Its still Dame Judy Dench as M. Still Jeffrey Wright as Felix. The cinematography is beautiful. The action is still crazy good. And I love the lurking idea of some evil organization controlling everything.
For as good as Skyfall looks, it owes whatever ease of making it and success it has to Quantum Of Solace. Quantum did the dirty work of finishing off a storyline that Skyfall can choose or not choose to hint back to. By the end of Quantum, Bond is finally a complete character. He is finally the Bond we remember. Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace just showed us how that transformation happened. Watch it again…then tell me I’m wrong.