How do you make a sequel to a trilogy of movies about a specific character without that character? Could you make a Bond film without actually having James Bond in the movie? Well the The Bourne Legacy is the answer. Void of the series star Matt Damon this fourth film successfully manages to move out of his shadow and forge a surprisingly decent spy movie. Set during the events of the third Bourne film, Legacy follows the impact of Bourne’s actions on the other spies created by the same program that molded the Matt Damon character.
Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner) is a spy. A spy like Bourne who we find in an unknown location, on an unknown mission, doing unknown things. It’s revealed in this installment that these spy’s from the super secret program that created Bourne are dependant on pills that alter their genetic makeup that allow them to be the super human killing machines that they are. It’s a little inconsistent with the previous films, and there is a token line about how Bourne appears to have been surviving without his “meds”, but despite the plot holes the film commits to this new line so strongly that at least I was quite hooked. While Aaron treks around an unknown snowy mountainside his superiors are trying to deal with the fallout of the events from The Bourne Ultimatum. They decide to scuttle the whole program and proceed to take out the evidence, but of course Aaron escapes unharmed.
The plot as you can tell is not going to win any awards but the dialogue and screenplay are quite good, and the writers have committed to the themes of the Bourne series so strongly that the film becomes quite appealing. There is a number of memorable scenes and one in particular that would unnerve event he most hardened. At the very least there is a sense this is not a simple cash grab and someone has put some effort into crafting an original story into the existing mythology without damaging what has made the series successful.
Renner and his co-star Rachiel Weisz who plays Dr. Marta Shearing, a scientist involved in the program, also add star power and sense of credibility to the film. It is arguable that the dialogue delivered by lesser actors would not have been as satisfying. It’s a testament to the acting, proving Hollywood’s obsession can also work for a film’s credibility. The two seem to share a genuine bond which is important as the Bourne series relies on emphasising human relationships and feelings.
In the end however, you can be excused for being a little unsatisfied. The film ends abruptly, not dissimilar to a television shows series finale where a number of plot threads remain open. Regardless, it’s an exciting way to spend two hours and it won’t make you feel like this was a sequel you could have done without.