Welcome back Matt Damon! And a very happy return of Jason Bourne and the Bourne film franchise. After a little speed bump, otherwise known as the “The Bourne Legacy” movie with Jeremy Renner as the star, Universal studios realized what we all knew… this franchise is all about the portrayal of Jason Bourne by Matt Damon. We probably would watch Jason Bourne ordering fast food at a drive thru because this character has become so beloved and iconic, and because we would expect some insanity to break out.
Iconic characters like Indiana Jones, John McClain, or Alex Foley, for us seemingly can do no wrong – and Jason Bourne has a found solid resting place among this pantheon of movie luminaries and also within our movie psyche, so we want and need Bourne in our movie lives.
Now that he has returned, that leads to the basic question… was it worth it?
“Jason Bourne” is pretty good film but it doesn’t surpass the greatness exhibited in the first three Bourne films. This movie starts strong, and ends even stronger, with powerful action set pieces that makes you glad to have this character back. But by the middle of the movie, “Jason Bourne” gets bogged down with a generic storyline that hinders it from becoming a good movie.
In the first three movies, the story was Bourne vs the government as he sought to reclaim his memories and his life. This latest film chooses to add another story line to the formula that wasn’t required and subsequently pulls the viewers away from the action film we came to see.
I figured this was the rouse used by Universal Studios and returning director Paul Greengrass to justify another Bourne movie – devising a fresh rational to why we should revisit this world, and perhaps spur on hopefully potential further Bourne films. But it doesn’t work, and it drags the movie down like Bourne falling in the ocean. The best way to explain the middle of the movie, the heart and motivation of this story, is methodical. The worst way to describe it would be to say it was that this movie becomes… boring. Somewhere in between these thoughts is where this movie resides.
The franchise is invigorated with the additions of Tommy Lee Jones and Alicia Vikander as government ops who find themselves tasked with the usual journey… to find and capture Jason Bourne, to which they are excellent in their roles, thus bringing a new-found gravitas to the franchise.
Matt Damon’s performance is at times lackluster compared to the other films in this franchise – as he is handcuffed by a sophomoric script. It’s almost as if the screenwriters had amnesia, forgetting what makes a good Bourne movie.
In the end, and as the tag line suggests, you know his name so this is a franchise that will continue – because there are many more stories to choose from the literary source material. But with this latest film, perhaps we can be just like the main protagonist – forgetting the bad parts and remembering the good, thus leaving our memory in a state of nirvana, and always loving the man and the movie known as “Jason Bourne.”
Darryl King is a video director, film writer and avid Marvel/DC comic book/movie lover. Check out his reviews of Batman v Superman, Captain America: Civil War, and his primer guide to Captain America: Civil War right here on MMT.