The Bourne Supremacy (2004)

So far, this was better than the first but at the expense of “spycraft”.  It had a stilted and labored premise to pull Bourne back in but after that it certainly improved.  Also, try to ignore the fact that it’s basically a rewrite of Identity even to the point of having a CIA bigwig in a command center, cross country traveling, a car chase, another boat, cat and mouse with another assassin, exposure of government activities, etc. etc.  My biggest complaint would be the shallowness of our revelations of Bourne’s past.  Yeah yeah, an old job raises complications in the future and it’s a big shocker to find out Ward Abbott is a piece of shit.  Ok, we can probably just be honest that the story is inferior to Identity and yet it’s still a better movie, go figure.

I could be wrong but it seems like the major strength of Treadstone agents is that they seem to be normal guys who pass through leaving easily explained bodies behind.  They’re sort of the ultimate expression of sleeper agents except with loads more training and resources.  In Supremacy, Bourne is blown from the beginning and it’s nonstop agents and police nipping at his heels.  That’s sort of the opposite of the point of his skillset.  Maybe if they’d done a better job having Landy’s crew connect the dots from Neski to Bourne for initial continuity and then to his handlers for final revelations.  The way it is, he’s basically a crazy person who “could” have done it and yet left fingerprints.

As a sequel it doesn’t contribute much except at the very end and relies heavily on an audience understanding of the first movie.  His apology was menacing and insincere.  I sort of felt like Damon’s character got left out in development.  Karl Urban could have been highlighted more as well.  It’s an odd situation to be in when you say “Why did they even make that movie?” at the same exact time you’re saying “Wow, I really enjoyed it!”.  If I had to point a finger, I would say that Robert Ludlum was a good storyteller but there was a different esthetic in his day than now.  Between the author and the fact that it was a first offering, Identity was good for what it was.  It would make sense that everyone would collaborate much more smoothly on the second movie and more accurately mold it to the tastes of a modern audience.

Lots of complaining, sorry about that.  It was still a lot of fun and definitely an enjoyable movie to watch.

Plus, it more clearly paves the way for a sequel.