The Bourne Legacy
“Whether you call this a reboot, extension, evolution or a spin-off, I’m thrilled with where this franchise can go.”
-Jeff Bayer, The Scorecard Review
I went into this movie not expecting much. Why should I? Who wants a Bourne movie without Bourne? But as it turns out, I do. It surprised me quite a bit how much I enjoyedThe Bourne Legacy. Putting on his best performance since 2008’s The Hurt Locker, Jeremy Renner shows that he has the action chops to continue this franchise, one that has now proven to have many more stories to tell.
More of a spinoff than a sequel, Legacy largely occurs tangentially to the events of 2007’s The Bourne Ultimatum. This is one of the films strong points, as it not only strengthens Legacy, but also adds depth to the franchise as a whole, fleshing out previous plot points and backstory. Ultimatum was essentially about Jason Bourne exposing government secrets to the public. Legacy is about the consequences of those events.
Legacy does a lot of things right, casting being one of them. Rachel Weisz does a more than convincing job as a research-scientist-on-the-run, teaming up with Renner’s super soldier Aaron Cross out of shear survival instinct. The chemistry between the two actors is palpable as they fight for their survival throughout a series of exotic locales. And just for good measure, Edward Norton shows up, doing his best “morally ambiguous government operative” impression. Plot is another plus here, as writer/director Tony Gilroy expertly expands on the most interesting story elements from the three prior films. As fun as the plot is, pacing is often a problem here as the action beats aren’t quite seamless with slower scenes of dialogue or explanation. The final 30 or so minutes ends up being one long chase scene that could have used a moment or two to breathe.
The original three films are pretty much required viewing in order to fully appreciate The Bourne Legacy. It’s not a perfect standalone action film so I would probably stay away from it if you’re not invested in seeing all four. But, if you’re a fan of the franchise, this is a definite must-see.