Spoilers for Jason Bourne (and the entire franchise. And your fat Auntie Maureen)
On Metacritic, this film averages 58%, significantly lower than any of the other Damon films of the series (and even 3% lower than the Damon-less Bourne Legacy, a film I haven’t seen). Yet I thought it was just as good as the others. That said, I do wonder how much watching in the cinema was a factor, and how enjoyable a second viewing at home on a small screen would be.
I haven’t read the reviews (I know, I should before mentioning them). I can imagine one criticism is how much it feels like the others (for example, another hyper-edited car chase). But the Bourne franchise gets a pass that others wouldn’t. In this world, Mr Bourne works within narrow parameters. He exists to either be hunted by the CIA or to damage them. We don’t want to see him do anything else
RIP Nicky Parsons. One of my favourite relationships in cinema is between her and Bourne. It was obvious from the first film that she had a thing for JB. But it was never clear if he felt the same. There was just this unrequited love that the filmmakers hinted at but never explained away. A nice, subtle piece of acting by Julia Stiles.
I maintain that Nicky’s death scene is a callback to Supremacy, the second film in the franchise. There, Marie, Bourne’s girlfriend, is killed by a sniper shot. As Vincent Cassel set up on a roof and his crosshairs hovered near Nicky, I thought back to that similar moment in the earlier film. I imagined director Paul Greengrass etc talking about it. Then I called it as a bluff — They want us to think Nicky will die like Marie did. They’re just playing with us, she’ll be fine. I grew cockier when she survived the first hit. Then she died and my mouth dropped open.
In hindsight, however, what purpose could Nicky serve if she survived? Despite her skills, she was now being hunted by the CIA, but not field-trained to escape them. If they couldn’t capture her, how could they even conceive of capturing Bourne. If they did catch her, what would be the point of her existence? She’d only exist as bait to lure Bourne. There’s not much mileage there.
I doubt there will be another Bourne film starring Matt Damon. My psychic abilities tell me that he might’ve considered it had JB racked up good reviews. But it didn’t. So he won’t.
I mention it is because the film’s ending set up Alicia Viklander as the villian of the next film. But if Damon’s not there, will she be? I think Alicia Viklander stars in…The Bourne Serengeti can be confined to the same place as Buckaroo Banzai 2–the bin. Or fan fiction.
*writes extraordinary fan fiction about Alicia Viklander’s pretty face*