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The Bourne Trilogy: An Improbable Hero in a Realistic Setting

With Jason Bourne coming to theaters at the end of the month, I thought it would be the perfect time to analyze one of my all time favorite film characters, in one of the best film trilogies. The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy, and The Bourne Ultimatum are all fantastic films in their own way. Identity is more of a character driven story, Supremacy is almost like a thriller, and Ultimatum is just straight up action. Everyone has their preference of a favorite Bourne film. Mine is The Bourne Supremacy. However, all three of these films contain our modern-day action hero, Jason Bourne. What’s so unique about these Bourne films is how realistic they’re filmed. When you are watching one of the films, it feels like real life. The way the characters talk never feel glamorous or “hollywoodized.” The movies all have the same dark, serious tone. However, the character of Jason Bourne is the opposite. He is extremely exciting to watch and almost superhuman at times. It’s hard to believe that there would be someone like this in real life, but having him put in these films full of realism is extremely intriguing to behold. If he were real, this is exactly how people would react. They would fear him and take every necessary precaution to stop him. Jason Bourne is very intimidating, and you see it in the people’s faces that are trying to stop him. With this breakdown, I will discuss the character of Jason Bourne and how he changed throughout the three films.

*SPOILERS* (You should have seen all three films before reading onwards)

The Bourne Identity

In The Bourne Identity, we witness Jason Bourne at his most humane. We see Bourne as a real human being, maybe the way he was before he became Jason Bourne, and was just David Webb. It’s funny how after three films, we still know very little about who he was before Jason Bourne. That’s what I love about these films! Anyways, at the start of Identity, we witness Bourne washed up on a boat in the middle of the ocean, shot in the back twice. Instantly viewers are hooked, and it is only a short time later we find out that he has lost his entire memory. This presents a fantastic mystery of who this man is, and why he was shot. We know just as much as he does, so it is fantastic to watch as we reveal more and more things about him. He is basically the most dangerous man in the world. He knows all of these combat moves, and is very intelligent. It’s quite funny to see him find out more about himself, just as we do. He was basically this hardcore, intimidating spy/assassin. However, in Identity, Jason Bourne is a lot different from the way he was before he got amnesia. He just wants to know what happened to him, and who did this to him.

He forms a bond with Marie, and they end up becoming a nice, compatible couple by the end of the film. Marie is a very important character, because she brings out the best in Jason Bourne. Jason Bourne is a very likable guy in this film, and Matt Damon does a great job showing it. We instantly are rooting for this man, and even though he might be a bad guy, we don’t want anything bad to happen to him. By the end of the film, we find out that Jason Bourne was the head assassin for a top-secret black ops organization called Treadstone. He was assigned to kill Nigerian dictator, Nykwanna Wombosi. However, just as he was about to do it, he witnesses Wombosi’s children present, and he bails instead. He decides he wants nothing to do with it anymore, and resigns. Unfortunately, this is only the beginning of the unfortunate events will eventually ensue for this character..

The Bourne Supremacy

The Bourne Supremacy begins two years after the events of Identity. Bourne and Marie are in hiding, and Bourne is beginning to remember more things about his past. Unfortunately, there are some Russians that are after Bourne for something he did in the past that he doesn’t remember, and they accidentally shoot and kill Marie. This leads to a very emotional scene with Jason Bourne kissing Marie one last time in the water as she floats away. What I love about this film is it has a mix of the things I like about Identity, and the things I like about Ultimatum. There are some really sad, sentimental scenes in this film that really showcase Bourne as a human. However, this is the film where we really see Jason Bourne as the cold-blooded assassin that he used to be. This is something that we get plenty of in the 3rd film, Ultimatum. This is also the film where Paul Greengrass makes his debut as a director. He will go on to direct the next film and is set to direct the newest installment as well. I love Greengrass as a director. The way he directs is very fast paced. Each shot lasts around a second, and he really does a great job of elevating the tense in each scene. He was the perfect director for these Bourne films.

As soon as Marie dies, we get the Jason Bourne that worked for Treadstone. We understand why people feared this character, and are constantly intimidated by him. He’s smart, manipulative, and always one step ahead of everyone else. There are a lot of twists and turns in this film. The plot has you thinking one thing, but then everything comes together at the end. We find out that Bourne actually killed Russian politician Vladimir Neski and his wife. This was ordered by Abbott who we end up finding out was the head of Treadstone. Supremacy is an action-packed thrill ride, but ends with a very emotional scene with Bourne and the daughter of Neski. Bourne explains that he murdered her parents and the event was not a murder-suicide. Jason Bourne, at this point, really has nothing to live for. The love of his life was murdered, he finds out more about his dark history, and he still doesn’t remember anything about his past. This leads us to the 3rd and final installment of the trilogy..

The Bourne Ultimatum

At this point, the humanity of Jason Bourne has really started to fade away. He is almost robotic-like, and hardly ever talks. He is on a mission to discover who did this to him. This film is more of a revenge path than anything. A lot of people tend to favor this one over the other two. This really is the best action film of the three. The action scenes are almost flawless. Ultimatum is the most tense film, and the most action-packed. This film is a lot more fast-paced than the other two, and is really exciting to watch. We finally find out how he became Jason Bourne in the first place, and was originally David Webb. There is a short scene that hints that Jason Bourne had a romantic history with Nicky Parsons. Although, the film smartly avoids the two characters hooking up and continues the vitality. This film is not trying to be Identity again.

Jason Bourne goes through a lot of things in this film. He is constantly on the run from the CIA, almost gets blown up by a bomb, and survives a horrific car crash. However, he continues to get back up and fight. He is almost like a super-hero, however the way this film was made, nothing feels fake or over the top. Jason Bourne is a true bad-ass in this film, more so than he has ever been before. When he finally realizes what happened to him, it is very tragic to behold.

I am really excited to see what happens next to this character, and find out more about his past. Jason Bourne might just be my most anticipated film of the year, and I’m really looking forward to seeing how it compares to the other films. It has been 9 years since the last Bourne film, so what has Jason Bourne been doing this whole time, and where will the fate of this fascinating character eventually lead to?




  1. Anonymous


  2. CFY Movie news and reviews

    The new one is my most anticipated movie this summer

    1. Brendan Bellavia (Post author)

      Yeah same!


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