The Bourne Legacy (2012)

Directed by Tony Gilroy
Starring Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz and Edward Norton

It’s decent. I personally think Jeremy Renner and the cast’s acting held it together. I have been a huge fan of the Bourne franchise since The Bourne Identity in 2002 and when I heard they were expanding the trilogy with the tag line “there was never just one” I immediately became skeptical. A Bourne film without Matt Damon? At first it seemed like a ludicrous idea, but I am happy to say that The Bourne Legacy pleasantly surprised me, although it is not without its many faults.

Spoilers aside, although The Bourne Legacy’s plot seems fairly straight forward, the way it’s portrayed is anything but. For someone new to the Bourne franchise, it’s pretty hard to understand. Even having seen the previous Bourne films, I felt the plot was pretty convoluted but that may be in part because too many new characters were introduced without adequate explanation or history. Without this information it’s hard to understand or feel any sort of connection with them or to the film.

Another problem I had with the film was its length. For a film over 2 hours I expected more. The film itself doesn’t pick up until the last half of the film and even then, I felt let down. The closing action scene is entertaining and well shot, but it wasn’t enough to bring the entire film up.  I left the theater wanting and expecting much more than I received. Right when the audience, myself included, were beginning to get truly interested and invested in the film, it ends. It honestly kind of felt like they ran of out film and decided to end the movie right there.

On the positive side though, Jeremy Renner made this film for me. Without him, I certainly don’t think I would have liked it nearly as much. He’s a fabulous actor and I’m not talking about his role as Hawkeye in the Marvel films. He has soared since his acclaimed role in the Hurt Locker back in 2008 and even at 41 he’s still on top of his game. In the last six years he’s come from the struggling guest starring actor to the A-list Hollywood mega-star. To be honest, the acting in the Bourne Legacy was the strongest part of the film.  Hands down. Besides Renner, Edward Norton and Rachel Weisz both performed spectacularly for an action film. I particularly enjoyed seeing Weisz play an intelligent heroine alongside the rough and talented Renner’s Aaron Cross and the two of them had wonderful on-screen chemistry together. Renner is certainly no Damon though, but I think he succeeded in recreating a new name for himself in the Bourne franchise. Aaron Cross is a name you likely won’t forget in the near future.  The film’s director, Tony Gilroy, also successfully delivers the action and screenplay associated with the previous Bourne films. He delivers with fistfights, elaborate car and foot chases, and show stopping globe traveling. For a sequel, it certainly has the feel of a Bourne film.

Overall, the film was worth my money. The Bourne Legacy is a rough-edged fast paced spy thriller that entertains and succeeds in expanding the Bourne world. I would see it again if asked to, mostly for Renner and Wesiz alone. As a summer action flick, it certainly isn’t the best but it’s worth seeing at least once on the big screen for entertainment purposes. I’d give the movie a B-.


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