Would "Bond 22" have been a better title? We'll never know. If you've been following the critical reaction to Marc Forster's Quantum of Solace you already know that Daniel Craig's second outing as 007 is supposed to be a. too short and b. forgetful of the Bond traditions we've all grown up with. The movie is a coldly efficient piece of storytelling with a curious attitude about giving key information to the audience and if you haven't seen Casino Royale you'll probably be a little confused about what makes Bond so mad (the death of Eva Green's character at the end of that movie motivates Quantum's plot).
Quantum of Solace is the first Bond movie with extended scenes that feel like they were directed by Michael Bay; the major action scenes are cluttered and over-edited. But there's also something new going on. No Bond film has ever depended so much on what happened in the previous installment, and in a series with no unifying creative force behind it it's a pleasant surprise to find Bond existing in real time. The story sets up the same dichotomy between the value of man-on-the-ground intelligence and neocon alliances with corporate behemoths. (The Americans are ready to hop in bed with Mathieu Amalric's tycoon, his plan is to hold natural resources hostage and charge governments an exorbitant fee for utilities.) Information about Quantum, the cabal of which Amalric's character is a member,is tantalizingly withheld at the end. That's why I think we won't know how good Quantum is until the next Bond movie comes out; this movie feels like the middle part of a trilogy. By the time Bond comes face-to-face with a chance to avenge the death of Eva Green's Vesper, we've forgotten all about what happened in Casino Royale and are fully invested in the larger story.
A couple of other points: as far as the "traditions" that Quantum ignores, who cares? They haven't worked for the series in a few years. I do think that the fate of Gemma Arterton's character is an allusion to one of the series' most iconic images. Second, when was Daniel Craig not grumpy on screen? It's not like Judd Apatow directed that movie where he played Ted Hughes. Quantum of Solace will frustrate newcomers, but it isn't as bad as you've heard. Here's to the continued "rebooting" of 007.