The Bourne Legacy Review: Overlong Yet Still Feels Like Half a Movie

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The latest outing in the Bourne franchise has a lot going for it and a fantastic cast, but ultimately it tries to be too much and doesn’t really have an ending.

The biggest question most people will have about The Bourne Legacy is whether series newcomer Aaron Cross, Jeremy Renner, measures up to Matt Damon’s classic Jason Bourne character from the original trilogy. The answer is a surprising almost. In no way is Cross a better antagonist than Bourne, but he is never trying to be a replacement and instead is a whole new character, not better than Bourne just different. Renner is funnier than Damon making for what should be a more fun Bourne outing.

Where it fails to live up is action and storytelling. Long gone are the intense shaky-cam fights where Matt Damon would own another agent but not before getting his hands dirty. There are a few great set pieces here, particularly one in the woods involving a wolf and a fantastic chase sequence that closes out the movie. But the problem is that there aren’t enough of them. Especially when this film is significantly longer than the other three in the series (it is the only one to breach the two hour mark).

As for the plot, the problems can easily be found with just the title. Too much of the film is trying to connect this film with The Bourne Ultimatum, with seemingly no real reason. Sure, the plot stems from the originals but there are random scenes with characters from the last film that don’t need to be there.

Another issue is that this entry feels like the first half of all of the other films with no real ending. Nothing is resolved and it is all left for the sequel, if we ever get one. Just when it seems to be picking up the steam that the others did, it ends abruptly.

But there are still some things retained in quality from the originals. The photography, for one, is absolutely beautiful, particularly in the snow scenes during the first half. Also, the supporting cast is just as good as the other films. Some may argue that the bigger stars take you out of the realism of the movie, but you cannot deny the talents of Rachel Weisz and Edward Norton.

All in all, the new Bourne is not a bad film, it just left me wanting so much more. More story, more action, and, to shift things to the positive, more Aaron Cross. He is a worthy successor to Jason Bourne, and that it truly saying something. Grade: C+

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