Bourne Legacy Review: Matt Damon is Not as Good as Jeremy Renner

The Bourne Legacy, the fourth installment in the Bourne film series based on Robert Ludlum's Jason Bourne novels, opens this Friday featuring Academy Award-nominated Jeremy Renner (The Hurt LockerThe Avengers), former fashion model and actress Rachel Weisz (The Deep Blue SeaOz: The Great and Powerful) and Edward Norton (The Fight Club) -- among others.

Directed by Tony Gilroy, the screenwriter of the first three films, The Bourne Legacy, has been controversial because of the absence of Matt Damon – who played the iconic role of Jason Bourne in all the previous installments. PolicyMic pundit Courtney Hodrick said a fourth installment of the franchise is “unnecessary,” and predicted that though the film is a major blockbuster it also has the potential of being a “flop.” I disagree.       

Damon’s departure, both as a larger-than-life Hollywood movie star who could overshadow the franchise going forward, and as a Jason Bourne – the character who after eliminating “Operation Blackbriar” prompted the CIA to get rid of its other black ops programs, it’s beneficial for both The Bourne Legacy’s plot and its future as a long-lasting film series. The twist that results from Damon's absence creates new and exciting opportunities, as “Operation Outcome” agent Aaron Cross (Renner) escapes from being executed and – with the help of an Outcome scientist Dr. Marta Shearling (Weisz) – sets to uncover a corrupt institution.

Similarly, Damon’s departure “on a high note” is a win-win situation as it offers a fresh start to both the film series and the Damon himself who would be able to focus on projects beyond the stereotypical action heroes that plague usually plague Hollywood -- allowing him to work in writing and editing projects a la Goodwill Hunting, which could increase Damon's clout as a film industry heavy-weight going forward. And he seems to know it, as Damon is not discarding the possibility to come back for a fifth installment of the Bourne series -- but only if The Bourne Legacy is a hit.