Oh what a tangled web the Bourne writers weave…

The constant retconning on the Bourne movies is really something to behold. The first sequel didn’t do anything too outrageous — it just added some flashbacks to an earlier point in “Jason Bourne’s” career — but it ended with an epilogue in which Bourne, an amnesiac, learns his real name. So the second sequel had to get a wee bit more inventive, if it was to keep this amnesiac-on-the-run storyline going; instead of picking up where the first sequel left off, the bulk of the second sequel actually takes place before the epilogue to the first sequel. And then, by the end of that second sequel, Bourne’s real name had been shared not only with Bourne himself but with the world at large. The amnesiac-on-the-run premise had been exhausted. The franchise simply had nowhere to go from there.

But that hasn’t stopped the filmmakers from coming up with a new angle, and revising everything we thought we knew yet again. “Jason Bourne” himself is not a major figure in The Bourne Legacy, which comes out next week — but apparently his actions had a domino effect on a whole bunch of other characters who will now be introduced to us for the first time. And, just to make things even more convoluted, a just-released featurette explains that the new, fourth movie actually takes place at the same time as the third movie. Which presumably means that it, too, takes place at least partly before the end of the second movie. Whew.

Incidentally, did you catch that bit about chromosomes? It sounds like they’re taking this franchise in an increasingly sci-fi-ish direction. So are we going to find out that “Jason Bourne” and the other assassins were not merely highly trained at what they did, but genetically engineered as well? This is beginning to remind me of how George Lucas introduced “midichlorians” to the Star Wars prequels.

About Peter T. Chattaway

Peter T. Chattaway was the regular film critic for BC Christian News from 1992 to 2011. In addition to his film column, which won multiple awards from the Evangelical Press Association, the Canadian Church Press and the Fellowship of Christian Newspapers, his news and opinion pieces have appeared in such publications as Books & Culture, Christianity Today, Bible Review and the Vancouver Sun. He also contributed essays to the books Re-Viewing The Passion: Mel Gibson’s Film and Its Critics (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004) and Scandalizing Jesus?: Kazantzakis’s The Last Temptation of Christ Fifty Years on (Continuum, 2005).

  • http://thomwade.wordpress.com/ thomwade

    I am inclined to think Bourne is not genetically enhanced, rather, Renner’s character is and was the next evolutionary step for the organization…maybe I am reading to much into a line along the lines of Bourne being the tip of the Iceberg…


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