Over the past couple of months I’ve used the column inches afforded to me to rail against Hollywood’s refusal to come up with new ideas. It’s something that’s felt more pronounced this year than in years past, and I’ll be damned if Reel Talk was going to stand by and allow for my beloved summer movie season to be bogged down by the Total Recalls and Amazing Spider-Mans of the world.
But I’ve got to be honest with you, my dear reader. Try as I might to rail against it, The Bourne Legacy’s got me excited.
For the sake of journalistic integrity — something that I, as someone who writes about movies he hasn’t seen and is basically paid to offer uninformed opinions, holds in the highest regard — I should note that I have a deeply complicated relationship with the Bourne franchise.
When the first film was released I was a mere 16-year-old kid trying to find his way in a crazy world he didn’t understand. It was early August. The days were long and my attention was short. I probably just wanted to see as many boobs as possible.
At the time, Matt Damon didn’t mean much to me. I knew he’d had sex with Minnie Driver and that Robin Williams didn’t think anything was his fault. I had no way of knowing that The Bourne Identity would one day yield two sequels and a spinoff. I definitely didn’t know that each of those films would be exactly the same, and yet somehow manage to be remarkably fun to watch.
The point of all of this is that I fell asleep 20 minutes into The Bourne Identity and woke up 20 minutes before the ending. Somehow, I didn’t realize this had happened (I was 16 and probably distracted by the urgency of my need to masturbate). I spent the next two years bashing The Bourne Identity for its incoherent plot and super short running time.
I feel bad about this. I would later realize that I missed an hour of the film and had been bashing a surprisingly good summer movie. You might even call it an “action-packed thrill ride.” But I don’t talk like that, so I’m sticking with “surprisingly good summer movie.” Leave me alone.
The point of this story is that the Bourne movies don’t suck. And neither does Jeremy Renner. Even in The Avengers, where his character’s main function was performing fantastic feats of archery and pretending he wasn’t significantly shorter than the rest of the cast, my main man J.Ren’s got some serious charisma.
And there’s nothing inherently wrong with rebooting a film franchise. You just need to do it right. There was nothing new about Total Recall. The Amazing Spider-Man simply retold the same origin story.
The Bourne Legacy is telling a new, unique story in a world we know and love. They’ll shoot some barely coherent hand-to-hand combat in wonderfully photogenic locations and the main character will struggle with an identity crisis. Presumably some stern-looking white folks will get stressed out about the impending reveal of their ludicrous secret plans.
Assuming you don’t fall asleep, you’re going to be entertained.
Do I care about Treadstone or Jason Bourne or Jeremy-Renner-Bourne or the character played by Julia Stiles who is inexplicably central to the series’ plot?
No, no I do not.
All I care about is watching a movie shot through a grey-and-blue tinted lens that keeps me entertained for a couple of hours on a hot summer’s day. After the terrible summer schedule we’ve been subjected to, that’s the least we deserve.