Over the years, Hollywood has come up with a number of ways to continue and revive lucrative movie franchises. The James Bond films, for example, have swapped in new actors to play the lead role, while wholesale reboots like
Directed and co-written by
Times critic Kenneth Turan says that making a "Bourne" movie without Jason Bourne was "a brash and risky move," but one that paid off. The film, Turan writes, is "complex, unexpected and dazzling, alternating relentless tension with resonant emotional moments." It is also "impeccably cast": Renner brings "relentless intensity" and "just enough humanity" to his role,
The New York Times' Manohla Dargis offers a more measured review, calling the new "Bourne" installment "less a thrilling franchise reboot than a solid salvage mission." She goes on: "The sympathetic Mr. Renner handles the action scenes persuasively, but Mr. Gilroy never turns the fight sequences, as both [previous 'Bourne' directors] Mr. [Doug] Liman and Mr. [
Still other critics, among them Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle and Ty Burr of the
Burr writes, "If you're going to make a 'Bourne' movie without Matt Damon, Jeremy Renner isn't a bad second choice." What's missing from the film, Burr says, "is any emotional stake … As enjoyable as he is to watch, Renner's underwritten Cross doesn't carry the same weight" as Damon's Bourne. Burr concludes with a dire prediction: "Don't expect the series to be back for a fifth movie, either."
Time will tell whether audiences embrace Renner's new super-spy and how they will respond to the latest "Bourne" film. For now, its legacy is up in the air.