First the few flaws. This isn't the family-friendly Bond of old: the violence (particularly some scenes of sexual violence) should really bump the certificate up to at least a 15, rather than its 12A. And yes, it can sometimes be hard to follow what's going on - although a lot less hard than most blockbusters I've seen recently (and it's a film I'll happily watch again). And I can also understand how the grittier and more sombre approach of the new films may alienate a lot of the die hard Bond fans - if your favourite Bond is the light touch of the Roger Moore films this may not be the film for you.
Then the many gems. In my opinion Daniel Craig is, once again, the perfect Bond (yes, better than Connery). The villain is totally hissable, the girls are totally gorgeous (a redhead called 'Strawberry Fields' shows that the series hasn't lost its Martini-dry wit), and the style is as sharp and as classy as its ever been. But above all this, Quantum of Solace takes after Casino Royale in that it's actually a story, rather than a series of flat-pack self-assembly Bond ingredients clumsily riveted together. The key Bond ingredients are still there of course, but they don't get in the way of an intelligently-written script full of plausible characters. And for this credit must go to the writers: Bond regulars Neal Purvis & Robert Wade, and particularly (Academy Award™ winning) Paul Haggis, who is proving the perfect penmaster for the modern Bond, with a format that shows off his understated flair for dialogue and reigns in his occasional tendency to be a bit too worthy.
Yes, occasionally the characters do tend to blow things up when perhaps asking a policeman might have been wiser, but to criticise a Bond film for such things would be like criticising a costume drama for having too many corsets: there has to be a certain amount of chases and explosions and pouts for it to be an action film, and this film delivers these about as intelligently as anyone can.
With Casino Royale the franchise set the bar very high. In the end, Quantum of Solace is just a film, and a Bond film at that, but for lovers of film (who are prepared to temper their high expectations just a little!) there's a great deal to enjoy.