So the Bourne Legacy is making it's way out to the physical and digital media as we speak.
I never really touched on it when it first showed up, I don't remember why I was distracted at the time, but I do recall that I was. I think it was mostly because it was out at the same time as The Avengers, which stole quite a few hours of my time in the theater, and more at home on my media player.
The Bourne Series is a series of growing mysteries about the loss of identity and how the 'agent's' that get it stripped away and rebuilt from are still MORE than the training that they have. It's got great Spy craft moments and drama, terrific characters. Restarting all of that with new characters in Legacy is a huge challenge. The loss of Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass seemed to interrupt the flow of the series, but Tony Gilroy really tries to pick up the baton and run with it as well as the previous team did.
Jeremy Renner has the new 'Legacy' role to step into, and that's really what the movie is all about. The fallout from Bourne's quest for identity. The exposure of the two programs, Treadstone and Blackbriar, leads to somebody from his former organization liquidating every program that could be exposed. This brings us to our new protagonist Aaron Cross (Renner). As one of the 'assets' in this program he is on borrowed time. But to make things worse, all of these assets are, to a certain extent chemically enhanced. These enhancements make the assets faster, stronger, and more resilient than normal, but they also have a mental component.
One of the criticism's I heard about this picture when the film initially came out was that the movie felt like a 'fetch' quest in a video game. I can understand that comparison, and there's even some truth to it, but what got me about it was there's an aspect of 'Flowers for Algernon' to this film that would be terrifying, especially considering that the ability to think clearly is only one of the things keeping Cross alive.
[Spoilers (Highlight to view)]
Cross was barely able to pass his entrance exam to join the Army before getting into the program. Now he's capable of advance tactical thinking, and mentally very sharp. The idea of your mind slipping away leading to you losing the only chance you have to stay alive? That's some serious motivation.
All in all, the movie falls short of the standards set by the drama and characters of the previous Bourne films, but that doesn't take away that the movie itself is really solid. If viewed independently? It'll stand up well. If you're comparing it to the previous Bourne films, it's not going to be as strong.
Ed Norton makes a strong showing as the villan in this piece, and Renner's Cross is a solid protagonist... their motivations are never really in question, Cross wants to live and everything is based on that, Norton needs to eliminate the last piece of exposure his superiors could be exposed to.
In the end, all I can really say is that I really enjoyed the film, not as much as the previous ones, but it was entirely worth the time to explore where they decided to go with Ludlum's original series.