Starring: Jeremy Renner, Edward Norton, Rachel Weisz
Director: Tony Gilroy
Runtime: 135 minutes
What do you do when a computer program fails? You close it. When that doesn’t help? You open the task manager, and force close it. And if that doesn’t work, switch the power off. That is essentially what is happening at the start of ‘The Bourne Legacy’. While Jason Bourne is running rampage, CIA directors decide it is time to pull the plug on the program, and eliminate any trace of it. This is why agents like Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner) have to die. Crisis manager Eric Byer is called up to oversee the termination. But Aaron doesn’t feel like dying.
The beginning of this movie starts parallel to ‘The Bourne Ultimatum’, meaning that events from that movie make a return from another perspective in this one. With the exception of Jason Bourne himself, a lot of familiar faces make a return. But how does this movie compare to the earlier trilogy? How does Jeremy Renner fill the empty spot left by the departure of Matt Damon?
In short: magnificent. I always felt Matt Damon was wrongly cast as an action hero. While it is true he grew into the role of Jason Bourne, he is more the ‘normal’ guy than a trained CIA assassin. Jeremy Renner isn’t, as proven by his portrayal of ‘Hawkeye’ in The Avengers.
This is only Tony Gilroy’s third movie (he made Michael Clayton and Duplicity before this), but he has had a long time relationship with the Bourne-trilogy, as he translated Robert Ludlum’s books into screenplays. He wrote this one as well, the first one having the freedom of not sticking to the original books. At first, I was hesitant, because Jason Bourne’s story was finished, and a reboot with another lead actor is always a dangerous exploration. So many things can go wrong, plus you have the added danger of prolonging the story too far, to the point only a meager plot remains.
None of my hesitations were proven right. As I said, Jeremy Renner shines as Bourne’s colleague, and the story is original and fresh. Aside from the few events at the start of the movie, Jason Bourne has got nothing to do with this story, only what his actions brought about for others like him. And in that, this movie is great.