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To sequel or not to sequel, that is the question: The Bourne Legacy

Nov. 1, 2012by: Alejandro Stepenberg

The Bourne Legacy title slice

I've always enjoyed the BOURNE movies, shaky camera and all.  While THE BOURNE IDENTITY is easily my favorite of the original three, they are all very solid pieces of entertainment that manage to both show the human cost of modern-day military programs and be entertaining on an action level at the same time.  That sort of balancing act is one that is difficult enough even to attempt, let alone accomplish.  And while the technical side of the storytelling may hamper the end result for some people, I do think that the heart, blood, and broken bones beneath shine forth with relative consistency.

Which brings us to THE BOURNE LEGACY.  The movie came and went without a great deal of fanfare back in August, sandwiched between TOTAL RECALL and THE EXPENDABLES 2.  Somehow its worldwide total managed to be double the reported budget, and reviews were on the whole far better than what a perceived cash-grab like LEGACY could have been.  The fundamental issue with the film, perhaps, is that it fairly screams for a sequel.  It felt, if anything, more like the first half of a story rather than the complete tale.  Anything truly interesting with Renner's character of Aaron Cross is not going to happen until after the events of LEGACY, and so the film is in the rather unique position of being incomplete without a sequel and yet unsure whether a sequel will actually come to pass.  There's been talk of Matt Damon coming back in, or at least the desire for him to do so, but whether that pans out or not the question becomes: is Aaron Cross' story going to get a second shot at really taking off, or will it remain drifting in unfulfilled limbo?

The Bourne Legacy pic 2

It is of course very true that not all sequels are made equal, and there are certain criteria that make some more successful than others insofar as "good filmmaking" goes.

1) Is there an organic place for a sequel to go? Yes. Cross spent the film kicking his addiction to chems while discovering that he was actually engineered in a special way that allows him to retain their effects even beyond use.  Now that his "origin" story is out of the way, his place in the greater Treadstone/Outcome/US Military Machine established, and his special set of skills solidified, Cross can move on to an even more engaging mission with greater resonance than his own addiction.

2) Is there somewhere for the characters to go? On the run but safe (for now), the main characters have time to regroup and plan their next move.  Their place in the greater Treadstone/Outcome story writer/director Tony Gilroy hoped to tell is (mostly) clear, and there's plenty of room to see how they respond to the world and how the world responds to them.  And, as already mentioned, Cross has kicked his addiction and Weisz's character of Dr. Shearing has survived a traumatic and dramatic ordeal which revealed to her the true nature of the fire she played with by working with the people that made Aaron Cross into the man he now is.

3) Is there somewhere for the story to go that isn't just a rehash? It'd be a bit tough to make a sequel more than just Aaron Cross hunting down the people who built Outcome in the way Bourne sought to bring justice to the crafters of Treadstone, but there's plenty of leeway in the methods Cross uses and the path on which he travels.  

4) Would it make the original movie better? I firmly believe so, because I am absolutely convinced that we only got half a story with THE BOURNE LEGACY.  A sequel would give his character somewhere to go in response to what he has experienced and discovered, and thereby actually allow him to have a complete character arc.  The character didn't evolve much beyond the semi-superficial end of understanding and kicking his chem addiction, and I for one would like to see how the events of THE BOURNE LEGACY in conjunction with his life and beliefs up until those events have since changed him.  Seeing/exploring this would in turn provide a greater retroactive resonance to LEGACY, a sort of humanity and importance that it desperately needs.

5) Is it possible to guarantee Rachel Weisz in any sort of outfit that works to accentuate her natural beauty? It's possible but not probable, as her relationship with Cross is hardly a sexual one and her general role in the story is of a different sort than some past "Bourne Girls."  While being sequestered together for the sake of safety might cause Cross and Shearing to take solace in each other's arms, I think a great way to further explore the restoration of some of Cross' lost humanity and personality would be to give him a romantic foil of some kind.  Not actual foil though, because that would cut and chaffe and just be all kinds of bad news.

The Bourne Legacy pic 1

Fundamentally, the problem may be that LEGACY was just outright unnecessary to begin with.  And yes, I know that this isn't exactly a revelation for many of you.  But now that it's here, now that we have it - should the studio let what was started go to waste? The stage has been set.  The players are ready.  The path is there, if not clear.

So that's what I think, though those thoughts of course only raise more questions.  How soon would the new plot pick up after the old? Which possible track could the plot take with Cross' story? Would a sequel only work if Damon came back as Bourne, or could we continue without him? Should Tony Gilroy return to write and direct, should he only write, or should he be out altogether? And perhaps most importantly - would it even be worth the time, money, and effort needed to make a sequel?

For now though, leave your responses below and we'll tally the results for the next column!

SO DO YOU THINK THEY SHOULD MAKE A SEQUEL OR NOT?

The Bourne Legacy poster

Extra Tidbit: Last column's entry CONSTANTINE garnered an overwhelmingly positive response in favor of a sequel. It's too bad that, at this point, it probably isn't going to happen. Keanu's off doing other projects, director Francis Lawrence is helming THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE, and the chance to strike while the iron was hot has long since passed.
Source: JoBlo.com

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11:23PM on 12/01/2012

Of course!

Are you kidding? Of course they should make a sequel to make up for their so called 'bourne' sequel. Sequelception
Are you kidding? Of course they should make a sequel to make up for their so called 'bourne' sequel. Sequelception
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+1
10:35PM on 11/01/2012

I won't lie, I really dug it.

I'd go watch a sequel for sure.
I'd go watch a sequel for sure.
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7:14PM on 11/01/2012

NNNoooo!!!!

The film was so boring ! PLease stop it now !
The film was so boring ! PLease stop it now !
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+0
3:12PM on 11/01/2012

The Bourne Trilogy is complete

and honestly even though I would see another Jason Bourne movie (you know, actually WITH Jason Bourne this time) I still wouldn't really want to see it, there just wouldn't be much point. I know his story goes on in the books but the Bourne Trilogy is perfect as it is.

As for a Legacy sequel, hell no. BUT I heard a while back that it was already confirmed and it's already in production....
and honestly even though I would see another Jason Bourne movie (you know, actually WITH Jason Bourne this time) I still wouldn't really want to see it, there just wouldn't be much point. I know his story goes on in the books but the Bourne Trilogy is perfect as it is.

As for a Legacy sequel, hell no. BUT I heard a while back that it was already confirmed and it's already in production....
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12:21PM on 11/01/2012

Sequel!!!!

That is all
That is all
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10:23AM on 11/01/2012
Love these movies, but disliked Legacy. Everything felt lazy. The only good parts were scenes with Oscar Isaac and Renner interacting. When he died, it was just plain dull. I give it credit for that it adds to the world of Bourne. I'd say, give it a chance and have him run into Bourne, or in need of Bourne to come out of hiding.
Love these movies, but disliked Legacy. Everything felt lazy. The only good parts were scenes with Oscar Isaac and Renner interacting. When he died, it was just plain dull. I give it credit for that it adds to the world of Bourne. I'd say, give it a chance and have him run into Bourne, or in need of Bourne to come out of hiding.
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8:26AM on 11/01/2012

I hated Legacy...

but I love the franchise. Where this movie failed for me was the fact that it was not vibrant. The first time we see Jason Bourne take down 2 guards and scale up the side of a building we all cheered, it was entertainment at it's best. By the end of the 3rd film it starts to get a little meh. This was a chance to fire it up again, and they missed that mark. They needed to have Bourne appear in the movie, even if it were 5 secconds, making eye contact with Cross. What they actually did was tease
but I love the franchise. Where this movie failed for me was the fact that it was not vibrant. The first time we see Jason Bourne take down 2 guards and scale up the side of a building we all cheered, it was entertainment at it's best. By the end of the 3rd film it starts to get a little meh. This was a chance to fire it up again, and they missed that mark. They needed to have Bourne appear in the movie, even if it were 5 secconds, making eye contact with Cross. What they actually did was tease everyone with Bourne by making it the worst parallel telling and never delivering on that implication. Renner and Weisz are excellent, but the plot was so inane, so rehashed that it felt stale in it's execution. There has got to be a better way of telling a back story. It is just like any other "re-boot" movie, if it's exactly what we saw in all the predecessors then it wasn't done right, and they used everything from the previous 3.
That being said, there is enough potential for this series to shine again the creative team just need to think of something fresh, something that will give the audience that feeling of exhilaration that the first movie gave us. I think that the series may experience some fallout at the hands of all the boredom experienced in this film but when the word gets out that Legacy 2 is a fun ride then the series can be saved.
And in reference to CB's reviewing prowess, I take everything he says with a pinch of salt now, his bias shone through in reviewing one certain movie and contradicting himself in subsequent articles. One movie cannot have flaws and still get a perfect score and others described as perfect and get less than. That betrays a distinct character flay of not being able to be impartial.
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5:52AM on 11/01/2012
i enjoyed this movie except for the ending i was like what thats it?so yeah it felt like half something
i enjoyed this movie except for the ending i was like what thats it?so yeah it felt like half something
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4:48AM on 11/01/2012
Well damn joblo never has an article got me more inrigued to wanna see a movie like Bourne legacy now, so kudos for that. I love all 3 Bourne movies since to me they are a more less contemporary Bond clone & yes i would love to see both Damon & renner carry into another Bourne saga. these arer very well made movies that are both exciting & tell a very mysterious story that fans want answers to.
Well damn joblo never has an article got me more inrigued to wanna see a movie like Bourne legacy now, so kudos for that. I love all 3 Bourne movies since to me they are a more less contemporary Bond clone & yes i would love to see both Damon & renner carry into another Bourne saga. these arer very well made movies that are both exciting & tell a very mysterious story that fans want answers to.
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2:36AM on 11/01/2012
Yes. Chris Bumbray gave the film an 8/10, which I think it deserves. Yes, it did seem quite unnecessary, but I think Tony Gilroy managed to make a case for the film's own existence, and it didn't feel like a cheaply or lazily-made cash-in. It was thrilling, intelligent and quite a bit of fun. Jeremy Renner also makes a for a good franchise leading man, and he tried to make the Cross character sufficiently different from the Bourne one, and, for the most part, he succeeded. I think a Cross-over
Yes. Chris Bumbray gave the film an 8/10, which I think it deserves. Yes, it did seem quite unnecessary, but I think Tony Gilroy managed to make a case for the film's own existence, and it didn't feel like a cheaply or lazily-made cash-in. It was thrilling, intelligent and quite a bit of fun. Jeremy Renner also makes a for a good franchise leading man, and he tried to make the Cross character sufficiently different from the Bourne one, and, for the most part, he succeeded. I think a Cross-over with Matt Damon returning to the series to butt heads/team up with Renner would be welcome, and I do want to see more of Edward Norton. He was great as the antagonist in the Bourne Legacy, but did not have a lot of screen time with Renner, and hopefully a sequel will change this.
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