The Bourne Legacy plays out in parallel to The Bourne Supremacy. Within five or so minutes we’re up to the infamous Waterloo Station scene, acting as a reminder of the lengths to which the CIA will go to cover up Operation Treadstone and other programmes that are currently at large. One of these programmes is Operation Outcome, one step up from Treadstone. Outcome requires the agents to take two different drugs in order to overcome and increase some of the obstacles from which Treadstone agents suffered, such as strength, speed and, in Bourne’s case, amnesia. The CIA is determined to destroy everything and anything to do with the Operations.
Cue Aaron Cross and a pack of hungry wolves.
I admit that during the first fifteen to twenty minutes, I wanted to pause the film for a breather. So much happens to so many people in so many different places that you want to scream, “I AM NOT IN THE OUTCOME PROGRAMME! SLOW DOWN SO I CAN UNDERSTAND WHAT IS GOING ON!” It’s full on, with more cuts than the Psycho shower scene. But get your head around the start, get on track with what’s going on and you will be repaid. Because The Bourne Legacy is damn good.
The first scene that really grabs your attention is when Dr Foite (Zeljko Ivanek, aka The Guy Who’s In Everything) causes a bit of a ‘situation’ in the lab where a certain Rachel Weisz also works. It’s a difficult scene to watch in light of recent events, but it manages to be thrilling as well as sensitive to the subject. The Bourne Legacy is mostly drama with few action scenes, however this part manages to entwine the two to create a powerful few minutes of film.
Although not as perhaps enticing as Jason Bourne, Aaron Cross is an interesting character. Jeremy Renner has no trouble filling Matt Damon’s shoes as he fits perfectly into the role. We only learn small snippets about his past, but it’s enough to make us care about his wellbeing. I’m not sure whether the character could carry another film on his own, but with the rumours currently circulating about a certain ‘reunion’, it might not have to be the case.
A man that must be applauded is Ed Norton, who arguably steals the limelight as ruthless Agent Byer, the man responsible for the demise of all Operations. There aren’t many people who could have played such a softly villainous character better. After a few years of quiet, it seems that 2012 has seen Norton back to his best.
Question. Were you as annoyed as me about the lack of back-story for Hawkeye in (I refuse to give it its UK title) The Avengers? Yes? Well, ladies and gentlemen, I suggest you watch The Bourne Legacy immediately. Why? Simply put, Aaron Cross is Hawkeye. Both are pretty handy with weapons, both ride motorbikes, both are badass, and both are played by Jeremy Renner. His portrayal of Cross is basically Hawkeye without the bow. There’s actually nothing wrong with this. On the contrary, I feel this aspect is quite advantageous to The Bourne Legacy. It gives you a sense of already knowing this seemingly new character, beneficial to Cross hopefully carrying the franchise further on.
Bourne diehards will pick at the film's flaws. Ccertain parts may niggle away at you. But for anyone who is merely a lover of the thriller genre, you will love this. It’s action packed, cool and clever. It may not be on the same level as the originals, but it’s pretty damn close.