The spy movie has been in the resurgence lately, with no fewer than four blockbusters last year dragging us into a world of espionage. There was Kingsman. There was Spy. The Man From UNCLE, but don't worry, nobody else saw that one either. And then Spectre came along, although it probably should have stayed at home.
The first piece of good news for Jason Bourne is that 2016 is pretty much a blank canvas for the spy flick. The second is that absence makes the heart grow fonder, and the thoroughly mediocre, Damon-less Bourne Legacy seems to have restored the world's appetite for new, legit Jason Bourne.
Before we dive into everything we know about Bourne 5, due in June, take another look at that brief but scintillating teaser trailer dropped out of the blue at this year's Superbowl...
Just what the doctor ordered, right?
"The stew of our story"
During a recent chat with Entertainment Weekly, Matt Damon, hot off his turn in The Martian, discussed returning to the franchise and the questions Jason Bourne will need to answer to justify its revival of the franchise.
"[Since the third film] there’s been the financial collapse, the great recession, all these issues of cyber warfare and civil liberties – things that are slowly coming to into the zeitgeist as we start to grapple with what the future is going to look like. And so those are kind of somewhere in the stew of our story."
Sounds like the strong basis for a movie, although if Spectre taught us anything - its plot was some muddled nonsense about surveillance and data - it's that working timely issues into a film's script is not an automatic recipe for success.
Still, the Bourne films have always felt hot-button in a way that Bond rarely has, and as if to prove that point Jason Bourne opens with an austerity riot in Athens, Greece. The villain of this movie, thought to be Vincent Cassel's character, probably doesn't have a desert lair, or a fluffy white cat. If you've seen Black Swan, or basically any of his other work, you'll know that Cassel is excellent at playing bad. His character here is an assassin who Bourne can't shake.
Riz Ahmed (Nightcrawler), Alicia Vikander (every movie of 2015) and Tommy Lee Jones all play CIA operatives at Langley, with Vikander's character a "cyber warfare specialist" expected to class with Jones's old-schooler. It goes without saying that Julia Stiles will return as Nicky, because a Bourne flick without Stiles really isn't a Bourne flick at all.
"It's not a new chapter... this movie goes deeper"
When the original trilogy wrapped up with The Bourne Ultimatum, Damon went on record to say that the franchise had done all it could. Speaking to EW, he clarifies the idea that this movie is an entirely new journey, but in fact a continuation of what came before.
"This is the completion of this journey that started in The Bourne Identity. It’s part of the first three, it’s not a whole new chapter. It feels like the conclusion, even though we’re not saying it’s the conclusion, it feels like the conclusion of my identity journey. It goes deeper than Ultimatum, basically."
In summary, expect a film that's topical, touches on political hot button issues, has a shit-hot cast, and dives back into a story that delivered the goods three times before.
Jason Bourne will make his long-awaited comeback on July 29th.