The Bourne Legacy (2012)

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Bourne Legacy
When the “face” of this franchise, Matt Damon, was quoted as saying he wouldn’t return to the series unless it was also directed by the same man behind the camera of the two prior “Bourne” outing, filmmakers and Universal either had to give up the multi-million dollar franchise (yeah, like that was going to happen) or change the face of it. Jason’s legacy was “bourne” with this, the fourth film of the series.

There has been nothing but trouble with the covert programs Treadstone and Blackbriar. Since Jason Bourne went off the grid exposing all of the dirty secrets of the program, secrets that reveal men were trained as assassins, a horrible scandal has rocked the CIA prompting senate hearings and a firestorm of media coverage. There was never just one program participant. Now, Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner) is where Jason Bourne once was – ignorant, but a brush with death is making him re-think everything. His training mission right now is on the mountains of Alaska but he is nearly out of his meds. Shortly after meeting with his contact, he watches as a drone kills that contact. This sends Aaron into hiding.

Back in the States, the Black-Ops chief running one of the covert branches, Eric Beyer (Edward Norton) is trying to contain what could be a serious security breach. Back in the day, Beyer knew Aaron, and now Beyer just gave the order to have him killed.Surviving the attack, Aaron makes it back to the states, desperation leading him to his doctor from the program, Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz). But before he can leave his drug-addled mind free of the drug regime dependency, he and Marta have to find a way to escape the grasp of those wanting to silence them.

The Bourne Legacy

Before I get into any rambling rants or gushing (and believe me, there will be equal amounts of both – for every pro, an annoying ‘but’ won’t be far behind), I just want to make one thing clear: this movie  is tremendously entertaining. When first reading about this addition to what has been a phenomenal franchise, I was skeptical about a lot of things. (I will try my hardest not to make too many comparisons to the original films either.) After seeing it, I feel both validated in that supposition, and taken by surprise. Here is why.

Series scripter, Tony Gilroy brought Robert Ludlum’s novels to the screen with his adaptations and he returns to write and direct this, the first where he was behind the camera. Unfortunately, I find myself now, having reflected on the film, agreeing more than I wanted too with the mainstream critic from PEOPLE. The story takes way too long to get things rolling, making us feel bored than we should by such a story. Evan as it vacillates between Aaron wandering around the snow-packed Alaskan mountains and the "suits," there isn’t the usual excitement in the opening thirty to forty minutes; even the spy jargon they spout seems dull. It isn’t until someone dies (regrettably so), that things start happening – and get interesting! Once this happens, there is no stopping anticipation. The first scene that really entices edge-of-your-seat chills is at Marta’s country house where there is an appropriate amount of fear and danger. It was a section of the movie that allowed Weisz to show off some great theatrics as her fear overtakes any logic she would normally possess.

When the casting news first broke, I wasn’t certain someone else could ever fill Damon’s shoes. Subsequently, I saw Renner in MI:4 and The Avengers, both of which were phenomenal roles for him. Though I suspect it's my preference for Damon's Jason Bourne, this role wasn’t always “right” for Renner. Does he do it justice? Absolutely! But there is something “missing” from his portrayal that leaves us teetering on the edge, void of emotion. On the flip side, Weisz was fantastic – she played a great female lead against Renner and in fact has to save him on more than one occasion. Leading up to its release date, rumors were everywhere that the fifth film would star both Renner and Matt Damon reprising their roles. That has since been rebuked. Some people may not like this story purely for moral reasons. The picture it paints of our government and how they treat the men they recruit to defend America is a wonderfully well conceived idea for a political thriller at best and at worst, it is enough to shake up our already fragile opinion of government.

The Bourne Legacy

In recommending this, I have to suggest that you try and watch it as an individual piece of the “Bourne” puzzle and not a sequel because for me, it fell short. Certain sequences are phenomenal and it was a switch for the heroine to protect the hero but too much of it feels familiar, including a woman tagging along and having to escape fellow assassins. By the time credits rolled, my opinion had improved and I thought the ending was adorable without being anything special. Though not as impressive as it should have been, ‘Legacy’ is a solid start in this new era and I don't regret the admission price. Still... an argument could be made that Renner was way cooler as Hawkeye. *wink*

What did you think of this film as a part of the legacy? Do you have expectations of it? Fill up the comments below with any thoughts!

(Rated PG13, parental review: Several scenes depict sometimes brutal hand-to-hand combat resulting in some severe injuries. The “suits” of the operation give orders to have operatives taken out; a man murders 5 of his co-workers before committing suicide. There are probably three “intense” sequences, one of which is a car chase. About four people die from the pills they are given. Commonplace profanity such as sh*t, d*mn and abuse of deity like GD are heard.)


  1. I LOVED this movie. I may not be able to write about it until I see it a 2nd time, though. I like the first three Bourne films but I cannot STAND Matt Damon, so I was thrilled to see Renner step in as the "face" of the franchise. He was a big improvement IMO! Bring on a sequel!! :)

  2. I'm very eager to see this movie. I didn't like the first three much, but I like Jeremy Renner, and well, pretty much there is my whole reason behind wishing to see this one.

  3. i've never been SUPER into the bourne movies, but i've seen them all. and i really like renner so i'll definitely be seeing this movie!
    xo TJ

  4. Noooooo.... you went to see this movie?!!?!?!

    I am having a major jealousy attack right now. I cannot wait to see this. I'm obbsessed with Bourne Movies (even though this ones not about Bourne). Hopefully the big brothers will come up to the city to see it with me. :)

    Eeeeek. Jealous.

  5. Ruth - I liked this movie LOTS once it built up to its potential. Like you though, I suspect after a second viewing (where is the DVD already!?), I'll like it more yet.

    Really? You don't like Damon? He is an outspoken liberal but I think his acting is phenomenal. He owned this role. Renner played Aaron very well... but there was something that held me back from "accepting" him so readily. Still... I will definitely be on the look-out for part 5 which I suspect will be in production before long - just wish it was with Renner and Damon! *wink*

    Miss Jack - this is a great film. For viewers who don't like the original "Bourne" movies, then 'Legacy' is like a whole new series though you may be confused if you haven't seen the first three.

    If you ask me: Renner was just as if not cooler as Hawkeye. ;-)

    TJ - really!? They are my fave thriller franchise - each one got better. 'Legacy' is different than its predecessors so I hope you enjoy it!

    (Renner doesn't disappoint either. *wink*)

    Rachel - I know! I can't even believe that I saw it opening weekend - I NEVER do that. LOL!

    The "Bourne series" is one of my very faves so this was a "must-see" in theaters. Hope you can talk your brother's into seeing it - and you enjoy! :-)

    Great comments, everyone - loved reading them! Any other thoughts / opinions are most welcome... type away!

  6. Now, you know me, my liking of Matt Damon has been highly documented, so I have mixed emotions about seeing this movie. However, the trailer does look good, so I know my brother will drag me to it =P

    That being said, no one can fill Matt Damon's shoes in my book, even if that is never the intention.

  7. Though it may not be as great as the original franchise, there is still a great amount of thrilling elements in this film to keep any Bourne fan alive and well while watching. Also, Renner makes a great, new hero that we can all stand and root for, even if he isn’t the same exact character as Jason Bourne. Nice review Rissi.

  8. Ella - you and me both, girl! I think Damon is a superb actor! He can do any number of characters from historic figures to someone who is more "fun." Love that ability in him. I had mixed feelings about this franchise going on without Damon also but... it's good. I think you need to look at it more as an individual movie rather than a sequel because it doesn't compare IMO. I'd agree with you about not filling Damon's shoes - intentional or not, it doesn't work. ;-)

    Hope you and your brother enjoy!

    (And may I say: I am glad you are "back" from the Olympics. ;-D)

    Dan - once the first thirty or forty minutes pass, yes, this a one thrill ride after another. I think it is a solid action flick but I don't know that it lives up to the originals. (Again... once you get past its slow start.)

    As for Renner, he was great in the role. I think now he got away from the pill-popping (a side of Jason we never saw), he will certainly be someone we have no regrets rooting for because he will be fighting for better of his own free will, and not relying on a pill to survive.

    Thanks! I appreciate you stopping in - visit again sometime. :-)

  9. I haven't seen any of these movies, but this latest one sparked my interest. Great review--thanks for posting! :)

  10. OH. MY. GOSH. You've not seen this series!? It's quite awesome. :-) I can understand where if one ins't into intrigue / suspense / mystery how these wouldn't appeal but if you like those genres - this is fabulous!

    Enjoy, Maria!

  11. I saw this movie a couple weeks ago and LOVED it. It had everything that I always thought the Bourne movies were lacking (okay, besides the pills, but those were understandable and he was trying to be independent of them).

    I loved Marta, I loved Aaron, just all of the characters were great (and Edward Norton played a really good bad guy). I really want to see this movie again. :)

  12. Good - I am so glad this was more to your liking, Lauren. I prefer Matt Damon's three titles but I think this film will grow on me after a second viewing. Once it started "moving," I really did enjoy it though like you I wasn't thrilled with the pills but I admired that the character recognized the fault and did become independent of them.

    Norton was a great bad guy - that is always important! :-D

    All in all, I am looking forward to the DVD release.


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