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Revisiting The Matt Damon Bourne Films

Howdy ladies and gents, now after seeing the getting super excited for 30 second teaser for Jason Bourne, I thought it would be a good time to revisit that awesome trilogy of films from 2002 to 2007. I love these films so much, however I’ve only watched them 2 or 3 times each so I thought it’d be fun to see if my opinions have changed or remained the same since my last viewing. Minor spoilers follow!

The Bourne Identity

I’ve never been more fascinated and engaged with a film than with the intro of this one. Having Bourne found in the ocean with bullets in his back and no memory of who he was. Slowly but sure this film starts to give small details, small pieces of a bigger puzzle and the story just becomes more intriguing and engaging. The main story surrounding Jason Bourne’s amnesia and his search for answers is so compelling because he’s a blank slate at the beginning, but then learn that he’s travelled a lot in the past, he’s resourceful and has skills that make him look like a human weapon, and it also doesn’t help that he’s hunted by a secret group in the government who want him dead for reasons that become apparent as the film goes on. This film features some of the most interesting and smart story elements that I’ve seen in the spy genre, and sure it’s adapted from a book but it’s an enjoyable film regardless. I also really enjoy the action which is slick, well-edited and choreographed when it came to the fight scenes and there’s one car chase which is one of my favourites in film ever.

Oh and of course I really enjoyed the cast Matt Damon kills it as Jason Bourne, he rides a fin balance between being innocent and confused to being a full-on badass who’s in control of every situation. Franka Potente is also great as Marie Helena Kreutz, she’s just an innocent bystander who gets caught up in the madness and yet chooses to stick around because of the dangers around her and her ties to Bourne. Potente and Damon have such nice chemistry and their interaction throughout the film is great. Chris Cooper is awesome as Alexander Conklin, I didn’t remember him being as pivotal to this story, but damn he great to watch because of his intensity and commitment to trying to stop Bourne. Brian Cox is another solid actor as Ward Abbott, also Clive Owen as The Professor, the guy doesn’t say much or show a lot emotion, though when he’s on-screen he’s like a ghost-like Terminator and he has a pretty important scene later on in the film. I don’t think some fans and critics give Identity the respect it deserves in comparison to the sequels, this was a great spy film with mystery, conspiracy, tension and awesome action sequences and director Doug Liman did such a fabulous job at bringing this world to life and creating the foundation of which the next two films would build upon.

The Bourne Supremacy

Even though he wasn’t a complete man, Identity established that Jason Bourne was not someone you wanted to mess with and Supremacy reinforces that with the lengths that Bourne goes to in this second adventure. While the mysteries behind Bourne’s memories are still at the forefront of the story, in it is not the only story elements in play. A CIA operation goes bad and Bourne is framed for it so the government are after him to get answers. The levels of conspiracy go deeper than the first time and there are a lot of moving pieces to this story with Bourne’s past, the CIA and Treadstone, it’s a lot to handle but luckily it is done carefully and effectively, and adds to the history of the government program and Bourne too. This film also got a little more personal and emotional than before, and there are dramatic intense and heartbreaking moments a well. Once again this film shows off Bourne’s assassin skills but to a higher degree than before, here he’s a bit of a tactician, staying a few steps ahead of his enemies in really cool ways, he also displayed pretty badass fight moves and continued to find ways to be invisible and yet still be in plain sight.

The returning cast members are fantastic, Damon continues to be cool, vulnerable and engaging as Bourne, Potente is once again charming, supportive and lovely as Marie Helena Kreutz, Gabriel Mann is also back doing a fine job as Danny Zorn, Julia Stiles while good in the previous film, didn’t have nearly as much to do as she did here as Nicky Parsons takes on a more prominent role providing information and emotional depth. But it’s Brian Cox who steals the show as Ward Abbott, this guy, he has some of the best dialogue and I love how well-informed, suspicious and confident he is because of his history with Treadstone. With the new cast members the only two that really stand out are Karl Urban as Kirill and Joan Allen as Pamela Landy. Urban is a frigging badass here, he’s like Clive Owen’s character from the first film but more cold, ruthless and a bit more personality. And Allen really does so well as Landy, while not well-versed in all of the CIA’s operations, she’s tough, tenacious and ready to take down anyone who’s in her way. I will admit that there are certain elements of Identity that I liked over this film, but overall this film had new level of energy, darker tone and better direction thanks to Paul Greengrass when it comes to the filming of action (minus the shaky cam scenes) and adding intimacy to certain scenes. OH and this film has one of my favourite endings to any film involving a conversation between Bourne and Landy which basically confirms just how badass the man is. I love it. 😀

The Bourne Ultimatum

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So here we are with the final entry in this series (until July this year), and it is one hell of an a good ride. From the time the film begins you’re already in the action and from there the film keeps up a fairly swift pace, but also slows down for some of the big reveals later on. Bourne’s always been a pawn in a larger game of chess with the CIA and their actions, and now more than ever this is about finishing the issues that the CIA started. I love the story in this film as things get more complicated and personal with the new mysteries surrounding Bourne’s origins, additional ties to Treadstone and the corruption with the CIA. Just like before there’s a lot of cat and mouse chasing going on in regards to: 1) Bourne hunting someone or 2) The CIA going after someone or 3) The CIA chasing after Bourne. There’s so much mystery, tension and paranoia surrounding these films and this may be the best at highlighting those elements, Ultimatum feels like a great culmination of the last two films with a satisfying conclusion that ties up all of the loose ends. Once again the action scenes are on-point with some incredibly well-choreographed fight scenes which are raw and realistic, there’s also some really great stunt work with some of the car and foot chases, and the amount of destruction that Bourne leaves in his wake in nothing short of incredible. I also have to note how much better the sound effects are than in the previous films as punches, kicks, glass smashing and explosions sound clearer and more distinctive than before. And just like before the film score by John Powell is so brilliant and fuels all of the scenes it’s used in.

The are all on fire and do such fine jobs in this film. Damon pretty much cements his awesomeness as Jason Bourne, here he’s still just as smart, efficient and lethal as before, but he’s also more focused than before to end the all problems and find out what really happened to him. Bourne has now started to come to terms with who he is and who he was and it’s really interesting and compelling to see how he deals with these issues when talking to certain people in some of these great dramatic moments. Stiles’ role once again increases with her return as Nicky Parsons, she has a lot more to do physically but also is very integral to the plot and Bourne’s missions and Stiles does such a fine job in this role. David Strathairn is new on the scene and does such a great job as Noah Vosen, he’s a new player in the CIA and he has his mission and when Bourne becomes a factor we learn how vicious and crafty he can be. Also Joan Allen really shines as Pamela Landy, she takes on more of a Ward Abbot role as she’s the one with experience with Bourne and knows how he operates and helps Vosen with finding Bourne. Landy is great at her job, but is also perceptive and can smell when something’s wrong and in this film we see that she does a moral compass and will break regulation to make sure that things are done correctly. I never even noticed Scott Glenn as Ezra Kramer before, but thanks to Daredevil I’m more aware of his appearances and he did really well as the director of the CIA. Paddy Considine is very good and intruging as Simon Ross, and Albert Finney is really good as Dr. Albert Hirsch. Oh and finally shout out to Daniel BrĂźhl who I never even noticed until who plays Martin Kreutz!

In conclusion this Bourne trilogy of films is one of my favourite series of films and if it weren’t for The Bourne Legacy and the upcoming Jason Bourne, I would have labelled this as one of the most consistent film trilogies. We have some of the finest action, mystery and intrigue, and at the center of all this is a great story involving badass amnesiac who wants to find the truth. After seeing these films again I love them more so than before and my hype for the new film is SO high, I can only hope that this new film will have a story worth telling.

Also tell me what you think of these films in the comments below and I’ll see ya on the next review, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on February 12, 2016 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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Month of Superhero Film Reviews: X-Men 2

Howdy ladies and gentlemen and welcome to Day #28 of my Month of Superhero Film Reviews! During this month I’ll be reviewing of some of the best and worst comic book adapted films. After the not too impressive X-Men yesterday let’s talk about the far superior sequel that Bryan Singer crafted in the form of X-Men 2 aka X2 aka X2: X-Men United.

Yeah, X-Men 2 is some cool stuff. I remember watching this in the cinema and being so happy afterwards. After all these years X-Men 2 is still been one of my favourite comic book films and even though there are a few things I would have changed about the film, it is still awesome and I have a great time watching it. So its been a while since I watched it last, have my views changed in 2013? Read on and find out.

Now let’s talk about the plot. After the events on Liberty Island, everyone at Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters is settling in. Magneto is locked up in a plastic cell, Rogue and Bobby Drake have finally gotten together, and Wolverine has set off to find his origins. But after a mutant attack on the President, everyone starts to fear any type of mutant. William Stryker, who plans to stop all mutants, raids the mutant school, causing Wolverine and his team of mutants to go into hiding. Stryker has managed to capture Xavier and will use him to create another version of Cerebro. So now the remaining X-Men must now team up with their enemy, Magneto, to stop Stryker before it’s too late.

The story in this film is a lot better than the last film. Rather than having a plot that doesn’t quite add up to anything, this plot gives us a lot better material that’s brilliant in regards to the story, characters and spectacle. With William Stryker’s plan to eliminate the mutants, it makes for some high stakes storytelling especially with all the characters involved. I also like how Stryker tied-in with Wolverine’s past, his son had connections to Charles Xavier and because of Xavier’s previous experiences with trying to help humans, Magneto is interconnected in this too. The film’s story just felt a lot bigger in scope than before and it felt a lot smarter and was way more interesting because of the comic book elements that was added in. I loved the Wolverine origins, the continuing struggles for the mutants against humans and the progression of Jean Grey’s abilities.

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Now let’s talk about the cast. Let’s start with Hugh Jackman as Logan/Wolverine. In this film Logan is still trying to find out about his past and is having flashbacks via nightmares. I think this is where Jackman really started to own the role as Wolverine, here he’s more aggressive, dramatic and more in line with his comic book roots. Patrick Stewart is still great as Professor Charles Xavier. Stewart gets more screen time due to his expanded role in relation to the plot and his performance is fabulous offering some moments which are cool, assertive and classy. Also Ian McKellen is magnificent as Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto. Like Xavier, Magneto’s role is expanded in this film due to the story, in this film Magneto is even more sophisticated, aggressive and brutal. McKellen has many great scene-stealing moments and great lines of dialogue too.

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Now let’s talk about Famke Janssen as Dr. Jean Grey. I actually liked her character a lot more than the last film, in this film Jean had a more pivotal role and this film really started to look into her powers too. Even though she was still playing with the emotions of both Logan and Scott, Janssen was nice. Halle Berry fares a lot better as Storm, this time her character has a lot more to do and is brought the front of the story. Berry looks sexier than before in the role and she has much better scenes when it comes to using her powers. James Marsden unfortunately doesn’t get too much better as Scott Summers/Cyclops. He does have a few more moments to shine and isn’t as much of a useless background character is in the prequel, but he is still a bit of a pussy and isn’t the character I know from the comics.

Anna Paquin was still good as Rogue, I thought she had some nice moments in terms of action and I also like how she tries to establish a relationship with Bobby. Shawn Ashmore makes for a cool Bobby Drake/Iceman, he has an expanded role in this film and I liked his story elements and budding relationship with Rogue. Also Aaron Stanford stands out very well as John Allerdyce/Pyro. You can see he’s a guy who doesn’t completely live by the rules, has issues with the mutant discrimination and really wants to show off his abilities. Stanford has some great moments especially when he displays his powers.

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Rebecca Romijn-Stamos continues to be awesome as Mystique, she continues to be one impressive woman as she infiltrates several locations, fights off loads of enemies and changes into several people. As for Brian Cox as Colonel William Stryker I thought he was very good as this man who has a military background and has ties to Wolverine’s past. Cox was great in the villain role and he lended himself very well to the source material he was given. But one of the most stand out performances is Alan Cumming as Kurt Wagner/Nightcrawler. This character is one of my favourite characters from the comics and he is wonderfully brought to screen in this modified versions. Cummings was very cool, funny and incredible as Nightcrawler and was one of the best people in the film. And Kelly Hu as Yuriko Oyama/Deathstrike was cool, she was the crazy mutant with the same abilities as Wolverine though she had much more agility and karate skills.

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Now let’s talk about the presentation. Visually this film is so good, the CGI in impressive and the make-up is nicely done too. I also love the action in this film, its wonderfully crafted and is very exciting to watch especially when it comes to the brilliant opening sequences with Nightcrawler in the White House or seeing Wolverine fighting people or Pyro’s fire scenes too. As for the soundtrack by John Ottman its great, its way better than the last film with a better sense of epicness, it’s not overly amazing, bit it does its job well.

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And lastly how does it compare to the comics? As I said before I’ve only read a bit of the X-Men comics and my knowledge is more in lines with cartoons. But from what I know this film adapted some of the source material well like Nightcrawler’s abilities, Wolverine’s back story and the introduction of William Stryker was good too.

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So to conclude X-Men 2 is still a kick ass film. It takes the Everything in this film is miles better than the prequel, the storytelling is better, the returning cast are better utilized and the action is on another level. Even after all this time X-Men 2 is still a good superhero film and has a good few comic book elements implemented that makes it so much fun to watch. While the film isn’t perfect and has a few things that I’d personally change, I’d say that this is still one of the best comic book films and it deserves respect.

Rating: 8.5/10 (Still a fine comic book film and arguably still the best X-Men film)

So there’s my review people, only 2 more to go. So have you seen X-Men 2 and if so what are your thoughts on it? Drop me a comment and let me know your thoughts yo! Come back tomorrow and I’ll have a new film review online, until then peace out!

 
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Posted by on June 28, 2013 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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