The Bourne Supremacy ★★★★½

After my last trilogy rewatch, The Bourne Supremacy became my favourite, and that hasn't changed.

It's often hard to say exactly why. For me, it just has the best balance between great story, action and ensemble. The others have this too, but I think Supremacy mixed it together the best. The Bourne Identity was slanted more towards story, and Ultimatum to action choreography.

The Bourne Supremacy was really when most of us first saw the Greengrass style. He was picked for this film after the producers saw Bloody Sunday, and Greengrass's signature visceral hand-held shooting style is put to great use here. The film feels like it is happening right now, action scenes feel realistic and the characters are very realistic. The film is alive. The direction of this film ultimately proved to be highly influential on action cinema, including the Craig Bond films. Greengrass even creates some loving, architectural shots at times, there is composition, it's not all chaos. Liman was a good fit for Identity, but Greengrass really makes the franchise and provides it with a signature.

The ensemble here is greatly improved by the awesome Joan Allen. She is frankly a brilliant character, and along with a returning Julia Stiles, reminds you how good the Bourne series has been for female roles, particularly in the case of Landy.

Brian Cox's expanded role also really enriches the film, and contains a good twist. Lastly, Karl Urban's Kirill is the most memorable antagonist in the series. A man of few words but buckets of cool. I also like Csokas in general, well cast. Damon himself seems a lot older in this film. The first film was full of character development and was vaguely naïve and romantic in nature. In this film that deadpan focus is employed more fully (he is a man in mourning after all, and plagued with guilt over previous missions). This film really cemented Damon as a bonafide star in cinema, something he had been threatening to do for years.

There are some plot elements that a little sketchy. Knowing where Jarda lives (and who he is) relies a little on trusting that Bourne's memory is returning a little. Allowing Jarda to 'call it in' is also not very Bourne-like. I also felt that Jarda wasnt differentiated enough from Manheim in the first film, I could see viewers thinking they are the same character with different actors. Framing Bourne in the first place really backfires for Abbott, that conspiracy doesn't feel as well thought out as it should. Lastly, Kirill's globetrotting seems a bit too quick at times. One sequence appears to chronologically show Kirill back in Moscow (or Berlin, cant remember), and Bourne still at the scene of the accident, which seems unrealistic. Plus it means Bourne theoretically could have been in Berlin as well. These aren't necessarily plot holes, as they can all be explained with small leaps of faith, they are just a little sketchy.

Nevertheless, The Bourne Supremacy is an action cinema classic, and one of the best sequels of all-time. It's direction proved to be very influential (if divisive).

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