If you could summarize the quality of this movie quickly, it's easy to just say: it didn't need to exist, but it wasn't terrible. Not exactly glowing, is it? It's how we have to roll though: the Bourne Trilogy was just short of a masterpiece. At the moment I can't really think of any reason to say otherwise, although it has been a few years since I've watched them all. They were important to me, at least. They represent this turn from weird late 90's action movie to a more gritty, grounded and guided film that could both thrill our popcorn buckets and satisfy my need for plots that make sense. Having Damon in the lead allows the character a little more depth, as he's a capable actor and is able to balance the action and dialogue without going over the top. Yeah, there was a great team behind it too, with director Doug Liman leading the charge.
The follow up films – Supremacy and Ultimatum – were solid achievements, even if they lost a bit of the magic that made the original really shine. The most important thing about that original trilogy, is that they seemingly followed the mystery of Who IS Jason Bourne. Then we found out, the movie was over and we were satisfied. The series was too big to abandon, of course, and in today's industry-obsessed need of franchises we end up with a Matt Damon-less fourth movie, The Bourne Legacy. Yeah, I saw it but didn't care for it. At all. As I recall the plot was a bit convoluted; it lost that simple "drive" that propelled the original films forward. It tried to expand on the Bourne universe but it couldn't hold my interest.
It's safe to say the movie didn't fare well, but not enough so to stop them from trying for another film. However, the lesson was learned: they needed the Bourne character back, and the only way to do so was to bring Damon back. And the only way Damon was coming back was if Greengrass was coming back. Well, everyone got their wishes and presumably starting with Greengrass, the rest fell along like dominoes. Four long years after Legacy, we're presented with Jason Bourne.
It's difficult to even think about, let along write about. The movie was good, but not great. It's leagues above Legacy, without a doubt. But really, this film doesn't need to exist. It really felt like they were grasping at straws to bring Bourne himself back and on the hunt for the truth. The motivation is weak: Nicky Parsons (played again by Julia Stiles) hacks into CIA servers and steals more information regarding some super-duper top secret programs, like our favourite, Treadstone. She finds out about a new program, and a tidbit regarding Bourne's father. Bourne is into Fight Club for whatever reason – spies have to pay their bills, right, while out in the cold, but is brought back into the fold with this newfound knowledge. Here's the problem: he doesn't care about any new programs; he's just worried about the truth regarding his father. His interests align though with the overall picture, and I'm sure you can guess what goes down for the remainder of the film. Sorry for any spoilers.
Throughout the runtime we're treated to everyone I love about Bourne movies: public, crowded action scenes with spies and assets. Using regular things (like chair legs) as weapons. A car chase. And some real shady, corrupt characters. It's all quite fun, and you can easily see why this movie is doing so well in the box-office during a season of sub-par films. There are a decent number of dubious elements in the film, including some motivations, decisions and your standard techno-babble that makes no sense. I left the theatre feeling a bit more empty inside, but that may be par for the course theses days.