The Bourne Legacy is the fourth movie in the Bourne series and the first one not to feature Matt Damon as the titular superspy.
Damon, and the character of Bourne, never feels particularly far away from this new movie though. Partly because it's set, at least in part, during the events of the third movie but also because Damon's face shows up a number of times as a very familiar photo from the first Bourne movie.
Moments of this movie also feel very much like the previous films... there's the use of the Bourne Theme at the very end, there's the impossible chase using vehicles in improbable ways (although absolutely nothing tops the chase sequence in the first movie for me). A number of the same actors show up playing the same characters and the story is interlinked and (I guess) expanded upon.
It does feel a little bit like the shadow of the three previous movies is hanging over this one a little bit... as though it really given a chance to stand on it's own feet.
Part of that could have been fixed by setting the movie five or ten years after the previous ones... allow it to breath a little. But that's not what they chose to do... and I think the movie suffers for that choice a little.
The story is also needlessly complicated... and the beginning of the movie is incredibly story-heavy. Unlike the first Bourne movie where it's a gradual build up to rooms full of people staring intently at computer screens and yelling at underlings, this movie feels like it dives straight into that without really getting us invested in Bourne Mark II (Jeremy Renner's Aaron Cross... and to be honest, I think we hear Jason Bourne's name more often than we hear Aaron's).
There also doesn't seem to be any of the mystery and intrigue that really characterised the first three movies. There was always some piece of the puzzle that Bourne needed to uncover to be able to end the movie, but the reason that Cross is doing what he's doing is so incredibly (and I hesitate to use the word, but it seems appropriate) stupid that I wasn't really bothered whether or not he succeeded.
I'm also always bugged by the shadowy government agents in these movies... not through any fault, but because I think there are probably people that think like they do and would do morally bankrupt things while claiming it's for the greater good. But whereas in the previous movies at least one of those shadowy individuals gets exactly what's coming to them and is taken down by the hero, that also seemed to be lacking this time around... there was no punishment for their behaviour. In fact they also managed to take down a good character from previous movies. And that really did bug me.
Having said that, once the action ramps up, it is a really good action flick... all the fights and the action feels very Bourne... and I was carried along by those sequences quite well.
Both Renner and the requisite female accomplice/love interest, this time played by Rachel Weisz, are great in their roles. I was a little conflicted by Edward Norton as one of the aforementioned shadowy men... normally I would expect to like him in a movie, so it took my brain a little while to work around that preconception.
All in all the movie feels very much like a little brother to the original Bourne trilogy, one that doesn't have quite as much charm or style as it's big brother.
yani's rating: 2 blue pills out of 5