Random posts on all sorts of things designed to inform and provoke.
Movie trilogies are tricky because they almost always implode under the weight of self-designed expectations. In most cases, the first film is not designed to be part of a trilogy but its success encourages filmmakers to expand their scope and ambition. The sequel is almost always the best of the trilogy since its development takes place within the vibrancy of creativity and an open checkbook
This positive vibe almost always dissipates by the start of the third movie because while the ambition and funds are present, the creativity is gone and so is the audience goodwill. Therefore, while the final film may make a bunch of money, it almost never achieves the creative highs of the first two movies. Indeed, it is so rare for all three movies to be of equal quality that whenever this event does take place, it throws everyone for a loop.
The Bourne Trilogy escaped this curse and that is why it’s such a treasure. It’s so good that I find it difficult to imagine that the whole series wasn’t planned from the start – even though we all know that wasn’t the case. That was one reason why I was quite apprehensive about a fourth Bourne movie because even though I had enjoyed the characters, I also appreciated how the creative team had seemingly ended the series.
My concerns rose further when the two key players behind the films, Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass, declined to return to the new movie. I totally lost faith though when Universal announced the hiring of Tony Gilroy as the writer and director because even though Gilroy is a great writer who made a very decent directing debut with Michael Clayton, he cannot direct expansive movies – as proved by his directorial follow-up, Duplicity.
I put these apprehensions aside and forced myself to watch The Bourne Legacy and found that not only were all my concerns fully realized but Gilroy had found some new things to piss me off. Before getting into what did not work, let me first highlight the things that did work: the story, Gilroy is a pretty good writer, the chemistry between the leads and the overall acting which is totally top-notch.
Nothing else worked. The action beats reminded me of the other Bourne movies, the transitions were choppy, and the ending is terrible! This movie is so bad it risks diluting the effect of the three movies that came before it. It’s so terrible I cannot see how Damon or Greengrass will ever come back to the Bourne world. It’s so horrifying that I expected Jar Jar Binks to jump out from around the corner and tell the main characters they should escape to a land far far away. If there is one good thing that I hope comes out of this movie it’s that Gilroy is never allowed to direct an action movie again!
The last two nights I’ve been on a Bourneathon. Unfortunately, as I must get up early tomorrow and spend two days out of down, I won’t be able to resume where I left off. The Ultimatum, and yes, the Legacy will have to wait. I wasn’t unimpressed by the Bourne Legacy, but I think that may be because I hadn’t seen any of the other three in such a long time. When I do watch it again, I’ll look for things wrong with it. Last night, watching the Supremacy, I fell asleep during one of the car chase scenes. It was way too long.
Actually, I’d think that not having seen the others for some time may make you enjoy Legacy a bit more. It’s such a pale companion to the other movies that it feels worse than it probably is as a standalone movie.