The Bourne Legacy (2012)

So much negative space

So much negative space

Directed by: Tony Gilroy (he also directed the excellent Michael Clayton and the boring Duplicity)

Written by: Tony and Dan Gilroy, sort of using characters based off of Robert Ludlum’s Jason Bourne books

Starring: Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton, Stacy Keach, Zeljko Ivanek, and plenty of re-used footage from the previous Bourne movies.. or was it re-shot?

What it’s about: a secret government agent (?) fights for his life after his handlers turn on him… or something?

B-Movie Alternate Title: The Bourne Files: Alex Cross

Movie Mash Up: (The Bourne Identity – Jason Bourne) + Edward Norton… I guess, I dunno, probably should have not done this category for the movie

What I liked: It was an extremely well-shot movie, full of gorgeous cinematography (and no lens flares!).  The action set pieces were fairly entertaining.  I liked seeing Jeremy Renner in a Bourne-esque role, and he handled himself well.

What I disliked: There is no reason for this movie to have been made.  It was just an easy cash-in on the Jason Bourne name.  An actress of Rachel Weisz’ talents should be playing a better character than someone that was essentially “Hysterical Female Doctor”.  It was like the Gilroys were trying to be writing as smart as the original Bourne movies, but it just got all convoluted and they kept trying to tie in that Trilogy to every move that Renner’s character made.  There was no real emotional connection to the characters, like why should we care what happens to them at all?  That’s not a needed ingredient in a movie, but having those feelings towards the characters makes me more emotionally invested in the movie, and as it ended up, it was essentially a popcorn Jason Bourne movie.

Would I recommend it to anyone?:  For everything that I disliked, I have to say that I still enjoyed the movie, and if you’ve seen The Bourne Trilogy, then yes, by all means watch it.  It doesn’t disrespect the original movies, but it is ultimately unnecessary.

Rating: 3 / 5

Jason Bourne never needed two guns at once!

Jason Bourne never needed two guns at once!


Thor (2011)

With The Avengers having recently been released, I thought it would be a great idea to look back on all the Marvel Cinematic Universe films that have been released (read: search engine optimization).  The only one that I’ve already reviewed is Captain America so feel free to go back and read that one after reading this stirring bit of literature I’m probably not going to provide you with here.

Of all the Marvel movies that have been made and were rumoured to be being made, I thought that Thor would have been the hardest sell to mainstream movie audiences.  I don’t know much about the comic book version of the character, other than he fucking bored me.  I didn’t expect the cinematic interpretation of the Norse mythology behind the character to be anything even remotely approaching interesting.  And then a funny thing happened: Kenneth Branagh was named as the director and I thought to myself that at the very least, it’s going to be high quality boredom.  I just wasn’t expecting a movie that was a fun popcorn summer blockbuster, but that’s exactly what Branagh delivered.

Of course, all the directing miracles in the world wouldn’t be able to save a Thor movie if the actor playing Thor was completely unsuited for the part (I’d use Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze from Batman & Robin as an example but fuck that, that movie had more problems than just one miscast).  Thankfully, Chris Hemsworth got the part (and doubly thankful that Triple H didn’t), and as a heterosexual male, even I had to admit that dude was ripped.  He was Thor.  He also had a weird Heath Ledger in 10 Things I Hate About You accent going on for the whole movie, which was somewhat disorienting, but whatever, he was great.

Honestly, the entire movie was pretty great all around, visually stunning, great casting, super performances and a surprising amount of fun.  I might have truly loved it if I was completely familiar with Asgaardian stories and such, but let me just give it a solid thumbs up mark.

4 / 5

The Avengers (2012)

I have to admit, I’m a bit jealous.  See, I’m not a Marvel Comics fanboy and the success that their high quality movie versions of their characters are enjoying makes me – a DC Comics fanboy – insanely jealous.  See, I know that if there ever were to be a Justice League movie, well DC Comics would have to have some sort of alternate (read: inferior) version of Batman, because it’s quite clear that the Christopher Nolan Batman isn’t in a world populated with heroes.  And while I enjoyed Green Lantern there are loads of others that didn’t.  Not to mention how every Superman movie that has come out since Superman II has been pretty craptacular.  Marvel went and signed Joss Whedon to direct The Avengers, so there went the best hope for any Wonder Woman movie, and there aren’t even any rumours that I’ve heard about a Flash movie.  So yeah, super jealous because DC can’t get their cinematic shit together.  Moving on.

In the next couple days, my reviews for the rest of the movies that are part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe will be posted (except Captain America, as that one was already posted) and what you’ll find is that they’re all pretty damn good movies.  For the most part.  The sum of them all is The Avengers, and honestly, you couldn’t find a better director than Joss Whedon to helm this ship.  Whedon has an affinity for the characters that he’s been reading for decades, and if we’ve learned anything from Whedon’s fanbase, it’s that he can make us feel in a way that most directors/writers take for granted.  When Wash dies in Serenity, he wasn’t the only who felt like they’d been impaled, and that was because of the heart that Whedon instills in his characters.  So the whole time watching Avengers, I was wondering which ancillary character was going to bite the dust so we could truly feel like This Means Something.

Another trademark Whedon-ism is the wry sense of humour that characters have in the face of insurmountable odds, and that humour is very much evident throughout the entire film.  I’m pretty sure every character, from Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) to Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) to the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) hell, everyone of them gets a laugh in the movie.  Of course, front and centre is the most fleshed character out of the Avengers team (so-far), Iron Man/Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.), but this movie isn’t his.  It’s not Captain America’s (Chris Evans) or Thor’s (Chris Hemsworth).  In fact, I think that the Big Bad of the movie, Loki (Tom Hiddleston), might have had more screen time than anyone else.

The movie doesn’t really have to waste time with showing the origin stories of all these heroes, because they have their own series, just like in the comic book world.  It’s the story of a bunch of combustible elements coming together to form a super power to combat the end of the world.  Honestly, I would have to say that this is the greatest comic book movie of all time, and that’s mostly because I think the Christopher Nolan Batman films can actually hold their own as non-comic book movies.  The Avengers movie and the Marvel Cinematic Universe has a lot of fanboy pandering to them, but it’s all great popcorn, summer blockbuster fun.  The Nolan Batman films, well they’re exploring areas outside of the comic books with the implication that they take place in a very realistic world.  Nolan’s Batman would never be in the Justice League.

Anyways, The Avengers is pretty much what any comic book nerd dreams of: the action on the screen taken directly from the pages of their comic books.  The heroes they love, the villains they hate, they’re all expertly interpreted into a new medium and it’s a goddamn great movie.  I don’t even think you’d need to see the other Marvel Cinematic Universe movies to completely enjoy the movie, but they would certainly add more depth to the experience.  Also, the 3D was much like Toy Story 3, not invasive and all OMG LOOK IT’S 3D so I strongly recommend seeing it in a theatre when you can.

5 / 5

Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011)

Here’s a quick rundown of the Mission: Impossible movie series in my opinion: the first one was very good, the second one should have been called Mission: Improbable, and the third one was decent enough, but seemed far too knowing and self-referential for me to truly think it great.  Ever since the second one, I haven’t been excited about a new M:I movie at all, though they always find a way to make me want to get excited about it.  Philip Seymour Hoffman in the third one, Jeremy Renner and Brad Bird directing in this one?  DAMN YOUSE GUYS.  However, it’s always offset by the starring of Tom Cruise, which I then have to get over.  My life is so difficult.

M:I-GP – besides being one of the most annoying titles to acronymize (which apparently isn’t a word) – is chock full of intrigue, action, gadgetry, foreign locations (to most of us I imagine, but if you’re a reader from Russia, hey let me know) and terrifying explosions.  None of it is really all that surprising, but it’s still a great action movie.  I’m not going to go into great detail about the story, actually no detail about the story because whatever, it’s a Mission: Impossible movie, you know what you’re getting into.

Brad Bird has made a great action movie, which is amazing from a guy whose experience has been almost solely in animation.  There’s even a bit of heart to this movie, but it all comes near the end so it doesn’t weigh too heavily upon the ridiculous action sequences that precede it.  Solid movie, enjoyable.

4 / 5