The Bourne Legacy - the latest movie in the spy-thriller franchise - has received a lukewarm reaction from critics ahead of its release on Friday (August 10, 2012). Though the Oscar nominated actor Jeremy Renner does an admiral job of playing the lead role, critics have been unable to resist pining for the original star Matt Damon.
With Tony Gilroy now at the helm (taking over from Paul Greengrass), 'The Bourne Legacy' follows a new secret agent (Renner) whose life or death stakes have been triggered by the events of the first three films. It's an interest concept - especially with allusions to Damon's character throughout - though in the end, it's simply led critics to refer to the gaping Matt Damon-like hole in the movie. The first three movies grossed almost $1 billion worldwide, and Michael Atkinson of the Village Voice suggests the films should have been left alone. He writes, "The Bourne films have more than just overstayed their welcome and outlasted the Ludlum books - they've been Van Halenized, with an abrupt change of frontman and a resulting dip in personality". Peter Debruge of Variety magazine echoed the comments, saying, "Subbing character actor Jeremy Renner into a franchise that requires Matt Damon-caliber magnetism, series scribe Tony Gilroy takes over the helming duties with an overlong sequel that features too little action and an unnecessarily complicated plot". Todd MCCarthy of industry magazine The Hollywood Reporter delivered the final blow, saying, "The series's legacy is lessened by this capable but uninspired fourth episode".
Despite the reviews, The Bourne Legacy will no doubt enhance Jeremy Renner's growing reputation in Hollywood. Next year, he'll star in Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters and a currently untitled project by David O'Russell.