Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass return to Bourne in an attempt to revive the franchise post-The Bourne Legacy. Their efforts are somewhat successful in bringing the series back to its roots, but it is this that is also arguably the film’s biggest downfall.
The film’s plot is essentially to bring Bourne back into the spy world, something the filmmakers needed to do in order to create this sequel. Tommy Lee Jones’ CIA director assigns cyber-intelligence officer Heather Lee (Alicia Vikander) to track down Bourne and find him, after an intelligence leak conducted by Nicky Parsons brings attention back to his case. This is essentially the plot, which keeps going a little in circles, and isn’t entirely coherent, making the film a lot less compelling than some of the film’s previous instalments.
The film, as a whole, is incredibly similar to the earlier Bournes, making it feel as though this doesn’t really add much to the franchise. With Bourne regaining his memory at the end of Damon’s last venture, it feels as though things occur and surface purely for the sake of being able to have another film. Nicky also shows up in the same capacity as she has previously- appearing briefly to be of assistance to Bourne, but then being let go from the plot just as quickly once her purpose is served, which seems a bit of a waste.
The film closely follows not only Bourne, but Lee, which creates a muddled narrative filled with confusion of where the audience’s empathy should lie. The film constantly switches between emulating a desire for Bourne to get away and for him to get caught which only serves to create confusion for how the audience should feel, which unfortunately takes away from the emotional element for the film.
The acting, as you would expect from a cast of this caliber, is excellent, with Jones and Vikander worthy additions to the cast (even if Vikander’s American accent is less than solid). Greengrass’ style is also what carries most of the film along. He is a master and building suspense and building a film as it progresses, which certainly helps the audience to navigate the messy narrative. Similarly, as ever, his love of shaky-cam and documentary-esque style of filmmaking seems to add a sense of realism to the film, heightening the stakes.
As a whole, the film feels like a dragged out repeat of the previous Bourne adventures, with little to really add to the franchise. It’ll remind you of what you loved about the original trilogy, but executed to a lesser degree (even the impressive action sequences often feel a little long, causing the mind to wander). The film is not bad so much as unnecessary, and may simply make you want to go home and rewatch the earlier Bournes (although it likely to be more welcomed than The Bourne Legacy).