Movie Review: The Bourne Legacy – Wait, It’s Over?

As a stand alone film, “The Bourne Legacy” is quite decent.  Unfortunately, people are inevitably going to compare this latest installment of the “Bourne” series with its predecessors, upon which this one is clearly the weakest.

As soon as I walked out of the theater, I started remembering how good the previous films were.

With Paul Greengrass, director of “The Bourne Supremacy” and “Ultimatum”, and Matt Damon, Bourne himself, out of the lineup, Tony Gilroy (who co-wrote the previous films), and Jeremy Renner takes their place for “Legacy”.  Despite the absence of Greengrass, I had high expectations for Gilroy, who directed the much acclaimed “Michael Clayton.”  But this film shows how much Greengrass is missed, as “Legacy” lacks the intensity and emotional force from Greengrass’ films.

The entire film feels like a “Bourne-lite”:  Everything is reminiscent of the previous films, but Bourne is missing, except for a picture appearance; the plot is not as engaging and complex, the action not as thrilling, and, worst of all, the ending was underwhelming, as opposed to the endings of the previous two films, which were very satisfying.

I was shocked at how the movie ended, as certain scenes near the end had me convinced that there was at least another half an hour of movie left, which I would have been fine with.  So when Moby’s recurring theme song played I thought “wait… what?”

The plot for “Legacy” is simple, too simple, in fact.  Its slow pacing and linearity resulted in some boring stretches.  There were no dots to connect, nothing that kept me on the edge of my seat.

Again, it might seem as if I disliked this film.  I don’t.  I’d say this film is a tad better than “Safe House”, the action thriller that was a surprise hit at the box office starring Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds.  At least “Legacy” isn’t one of the most predictable films I’ve ever seen.

The stars of “Legacy” are fantastic.  Renner establishes Aaron Cross as someone distinctly different from Damon’s Bourne, and that makes it all the more exciting to see a potential sequel that starts both characters.  Rachel Weisz is brilliant as always.  Even though her character isn’t very dynamic or well-developed, she plays it with conviction and emotion, and I believed in every action she took and every line she delivered.

So, despite the fact that “The Bourne Legacy” doesn’t stack up against the previous Bourne films, fans of the series should go see it, if anything, to keep the series going and see how the overarching story develops.  Those looking for a decent action thriller should check it out too.  While it’s not a great action movie, it’s certainly entertaining.

Society’s ‘Elites’ and My Inner Bane

Those of you who have read my review on “The Dark Knight Rises” will know that I am not the biggest fan of the film.  Having said that, I have, not entirely on my on will, gone to see it a second time at the theater.  Proving the fact that when I saw the film the first time it was a 12:30 pm show had no effect on my view on it (as that’s quite early in the day for me), I felt the same after the second viewing.  The film still felt clunky, uneven, and tainted with illogicalities in the plot. I did, however, gain some new perspective, not about the messages and themes that the film expressed, but on a rather personal basis.  It has to do with the allure, desire, insanity, and chaos, that money, and the idea of money, brings to society.

This train of thought spawned from a conversation in the film between John Daggett and Bane.  Daggett is a billionaire investor who financially backed Bane’s operations and sought to take over Wayne Enterprises.  After (small spoilers) Daggett realized that he failed to become head of the Wayne board, he confronted Bane, yelling at him to the point where it was obvious that he had forgotten his place.  When Bane revealed a glimpse of his madness on Daggett, the conversation went as follows:

Daggett:  “I gave you a lot of money.”

Bane: “And that gives you power over me?”

What happened next isn’t really relevant to the discussion at hand.  This little verbal exchange, and the subsequent chaos that Bane laid upon Gotham and its privileged class, provided me with a fresh basket of food for thought.

Coincidentally, recently, I have been presented with the opportunity to become a part of this elite class of society, where money is in the blood and veins of its very own infrastructure.  I found myself indulging in the same things that the privileged folks in Gotham indulged in.  Luxury. Whenever I am at a place of glorious opulence I found myself feeling like I’m in a different world, somehow establishing the dynamic of ‘us’ and ‘them’, because of where I was and what that meant.

We are in a society where money rules.  Like it or not, capitalism is the way of the world right now, and as long as it remains so, society will always be driven by the accumulation of wealth.  Now, there are arguments both ways on whether if it’s a good or a bad thing.  Some might even argue that it’s neither good nor bad, that it’s just the way of the world and doesn’t affect people on a personal basis (who they ‘are’, their morals, etc).  I happen to believe that personal wealth and the accumulation of wealth significantly influences a person’s character, demeanor, and morals beliefs.

Some people are born into well-off families and thus might have an easier path towards accumulating wealth, others might have to fight a lot harder to gain the same amount of wealth.  Everyone in society today have to make decisions involving money, whether if it’s spending it, betting it, investing it, burning it… and seeing Bane utter those words reminded me that we should be the ones in control of money, not vice versa.

It is perhaps unclear though, Bane’s specific targeting of society’s affluent.  Was he waging war against Gotham because of the class inequality? Is this what he and the League of Shadows fought for, albeit through extremist means?

I might not be the excommunicated leader of the League of Shadows who is looking to terrorize a city, send it into anarchy, and tear down the upper class.  The method with which I strive to combat the corruption of money is much more introspective.  When I am faced with thematic decisions in life where money might be a factor, everything from work, education, even relationships… I need to conjure up my inner Bane: Stay true to myself, and don’t let money control me.