The Bourne Legacy works more as a spinoff to the successful Bourne trilogy using events from Supremacy and Ultimatum to inform the developments in this film. The story focuses on Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner), a super soldier in a secret CIA training camp up in Alaska. While the CIA tries to clean up its mess through Col. Eric Byer (Edward Norton), they begin feeding their soldiers in the field poisonous pills. For a brief time, Cross encounters another soldier (Oscar Isaac) and is pursued by drones.
The addition of the U.S.'s preferred means of engagement in flying drones enhances the action to a modern level but somehow, this spinoff still falls short. Scott Glenn reprises his role as the CIA official Ezra Kramer scrambling to cover up the damage caused by Jason Bourne. The pacing is a bit off with short scenes of action and convoluted story that tries to recap the first three films and set up the new plot. A new senior official lurking in the shadows Adm Mark Turso (Stacy Keach) heads the coverup operation.
The scientists behind the program get involved including Dr. Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz), who witnesses an awful mass murder playing off other horrific current events. The movie also pauses to inform us of the backstory through flashbacks, which stalls the fast-paced nature viewers expect from a Bourne film. Corey Stoll also shows up as agent Zev Vendel, a minor role prior to his rise to fame to the point of a Marvel villain.
There is a decent amount of tension and spy searching throughout it. The mystery isn't there in the agent's quest for more chems, but the story rolls along towards the second half to be more engaging. Renner is always fun to watch, and Weisz looks like she could be doing a better movie but they elevate the acting alongside a frustrated Norton. The Bourne series has been great at spotting old and new talent and putting them into promising roles. The Bourne Legacy is certainly the worst of the first four Bourne movie, but this is more a testament to the strength of the series than how bad this one was.
The Bourne series has added something new to a hand-to-hand combat and supplied a steady stream of action movies through the years, but one can't help but feel that the series had run out of steam by this point and the producers were just looking for any easy franchise installment to cash in on. I'm surprised this addition led to another down the line. I'll be curious to see if the fifth turns into a success at the box office.