Today the newest installment in the Bourne series hits theatres, and this time it’s got an all new star and an entirely new feeling. Yes, The Bourne Legacy is finally here. This time around, the franchise has swapped out Matt Damon for Jeremy Renner, and has also added Edward Norton.
If you know anything about Jeremy Renner it’s that he knows how to play bad-ass. With films like Mission Impossible IV and The Avengers under his belt, it’s hard to imagine him not kicking ass and taking names as the newest agent in the “Bourne” program. And yet, when we’re introduced to Renner’s character, Aaron Cross, it’s hard not to be outright bored and unimpressed by anything he does. Mostly because all he does is jump around from object to object, without actually doing anything cool or “super-spy” like.
To introduce this new character, after Matt Damon didn’t sign on for the new film, The Bourne Legacy introduced the idea that there were more than one person like Jason Bourne, and they were all around the world. This “program,” created by people that we don’t know nor care about, is essentially a way to introduce audiences to a new character while still mentioning Jason Bourne as many times as possible. This way, the franchise is not outright replacing its titular star with someone else, but is instead pretending that both still exist.
What this results in is the name-dropping of Jason Bourne as many times as possible, followed by a few shots cutting back to this new guy that we’re supposed to care about, Aaron Cross. However, it’s ultimately hard to care about a new character when everyone else spends more time talking about Jason Bourne, who is never actually in the movie. So what we get, instead of a new movie starring Jeremy Renner, is actually a movie starring Jeremy Renner but featuring the idea of Matt Damon… every second of the film. It’s hard to see even one scene in the film where someone isn’t talking about Jason Bourne and all of the cool stuff that he’s doing that we can’t see.
It’s because of this that The Bourne Legacy does a clumsy job of trying to be the newest chapter in the Bourne series. Simply put, nothing that we’re being introduced to is important because the movie never really commits to introducing us to any of it in the first place.
On top of all this, the movie is unnecessarily confusing, and for an action movie, it’s downright boring. Rather than cool scenes with explosions and guns and car chases, what The Bourne Legacy does most is have scenes with people talking nonsense about things that make no sense. Yes, it’s clear that these people are spies, but we don’t need to be reminded of it every three seconds by having them speak in codes that make no sense or are ever explained.
As an action movie, The Bourne Legacy fails because it refuses to leave behind its own legacy and move on to something new. As a Jeremy Renner movie, The Bourne Legacy cared more about mentioning Jason Bourne than Renner’s own character, and therefore didn’t spend enough time developing it or giving him any chance to do anything even remotely cool. And when your main character is a cool guy who can do cool things, it’s pretty much a big waste of time when all he does is jump around for the whole movie while everyone else is talking about someone else.