Coming along to rival James Bond in the spy thriller stakes back in the early ’00s was Jason Bourne, a man with amnesia who was on the run from forces out to kill him for reasons he, at first, did not know or understand.
There are five movies in total, four starring Matt Damon and one with Jeremy Renner as the leading man, with the latest being released in 2016. As for whether there will be more, well there is conflicting reports and it is as yet uncertain whether we will see a future adventure.
There was also recently a TV series, Treadstone, cancelled after one season, that acted as a prequel to the Bourne story and if your want to see everything that the franchise has to offer, and in order, you’ll need to start there.
But if it is just the movies that you want in on, here is all you need to know.
How to watch the Bourne movies in order
Other than the recent TV show, the series has been released in chronological order and as such, the order to watch them is really simple. Here’s how:
The Bourne Identity
The first entry in the Bourne series, by release order anyway and the first movie, starts with our protagonist being dragged from the sea, barely alive, by fisherman – and that’s only the beginning of how bad and chaotic things soon become for him.
With set pieces that blew audiences away, a compelling story, and a tense chase across Europe as Bourne, alongside Franka Potente as Marie Kreutz work to find out what is happening, who is after him, and who he actually is. A really strong start for a franchise that kept improving for its first three outings.
The Bourne Supremacy
The conspiracy that Bourne is caught up in between the CIA and Operation Treadstone showed no signs of slowing down in the second entry in the Bourne series and this one built on all that worked with the first and made a sequel that more than lived up to what came before.
The stakes were bigger, Bourne’s motivations were amped up after the events of Identity, and the supporting cast became more of a focus which helped the film out considerably. It may have still felt a little trapped in the spy genre tropes from time to time, but this was another win for Bourne.
The Bourne Ultimatum
Generally regarded as the best movie in the franchise and for good reason, The Bourne Ultimatum was all about answers and we finally learned all, well most, of the secrets that we had been trying to figure out since it all began in 2002.
Bourne once again finds himself targeted by some assassins while trying to learn all he can about Treadstone but in trying to find out as much information as he can, he learns some truths about himself that he may wish he hadn’t. Had this been the end of the Bourne movies, t would have been an epic and thrilling way to say goodbye.
The Bourne Legacy
An oddity in the Bourne franchise and often overlooked, some may say unfairly, The Bourne Legacy saw Jeremy Renner join the franchise to lead the fourth entry while Matt Damon’s titular character sat this one out.
A Bourne movie without Damon did seem like a strange idea and it was a gamble that never truly paid off. But it should not be outright dismissed as there is a lot to like here with Renner doing a good job at filling in for Damon and some stunts that rivalled the best the series had to offer. We certainly would not be opposed to a Damon and Renner team up – which has been mooted as a possibility by Damon himself.
What we got in 2016 was a solid movie that, while feeling a tad repetitive in places, took the movies in a new direction and it would be a shame if we didn’t pick up after that interesting ending at some point down the line.
Alicia Vikanders character was the person to be hunting him down and the future Tomb Raider star was a fantastic foil who we would love to see again. And while the quest for Bourne to learn more about his father does feel like a step down from not knowing who he himself was, it still works and proved that there is life left in the series yet.
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