By Matthew McKibben | September 16, 2014
Deadline.com is reporting that Matt Damon is returning to the franchise that cemented his global superstar status and he’s bringing Paul Greengrass back into the fold with him. With all due respect to James Bond, who has seen his own fair share of excellent spy action thrillers in the past few years, the Bourne movies (the Doug Liman directed The Bourne Identity and the two Greengrass films The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum) were the best spy action thrillers of the aughts decade, combining eye popping action with a smart conspiracy narrative that would be engaging even without all of the shaky cam action set pieces. The Bourne Ultimatum ended pretty conclusively with Bourne swimming out of the river he was believed to have died in. Since that movie came out in 2007, Matt Damon has repeatedly shot down any notion of a sequel, insisting that the story was concluded with Jason finally recalling each of his lost memories and with the Treadstone program reaching an ignoble end. I guess things change. My biggest hope for this is that they’ve cracked a good story and that it can say something interesting about global affairs now, and isn’t just a cash grab with Jason Bourne getting pulled out of retirement to go back for “one more mission.”
Universal intends to keep the July 16, 2016 release date it had secured for the next Bourne movie, the sequel to the Jeremy Renner-starring The Bourne Legacy. It’s safe to say at this point that the Renner movies have been put on hold to make room for Matt Damon’s return. I was ultimately lukewarm on The Bourne Legacy. It had some good moments, but it felt a bit like having a substitute teacher while your favorite teacher was out sick. Since it sometimes seems unlikely we’ll ever get a Hawkeye standalone movie from Marvel, I wound up watching much of The Bourne Legacy pretending it was some kind of weird Hawkeye origin story. It’s kind of fun on that level.