Matt Damon burst onto the Hollywood scene when he and his friend Ben Affleck (whom you may also have heard of) came out of nowhere with a script they co-wrote and starred in: Good Will Hunting. One of the best Oscar moments in recent memory is the two of them going bezerk after winning Damon’s only Oscar to date for the film’s screenplay. Damon has gone on to be one of Hollywood’s biggest stars in The Bourne movies, Ocean’s trilogy, Saving Private Ryan, The Martian, Interstellar, and more than a dozen other huge hits. Post-The Martian, Damon has been in a bit of a slump, and it remains to be seen how much his career will be hurt by his ties to disgraced Hollywood mogul and sexual predator Harvey Weinstein (Damon has admitted he knew of Weinstein’s atrocities and did not come forward). On-screen, he’s one of the most versatile and talented actors of his generation. Time will tell what his sins of omission will do to his career going forward.
We live in the Age of the Sequel. Studios want franchises with multiple sequels, and increasingly, shared movie universes copied on the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While sequel fatigue may be creeping into many movie goers minds, the fact is that sequels are here to stay. Sequels do have advantages over original films. They have a built-in audience connection, the opportunity for deep character exploration and the chance to build large and challenging plot lines that wouldn’t be possible in a single installment. When filmmakers take advantage of these unique tools, the sequel can even eclipse the film that inspired it. The best sequels build on and expand great films. Here are 10 films where the sequel managed to top (even by the slimmest of margins) the original.
The chase scene is an art form within cinema. If you do it right, you can boggle your viewers’ minds with amazing F/X, choreography, and even character development, but if you do it wrong, you just end up with a lot of noise and filler. I think the greatest car chase I’ve ever seen is The Bourne Supremacy‘s Moscow masterpiece. Not only does it manage to top the amazing chase seen from The Bourne Identity, it manages to build Bourne’s character while he’s playing high-speed Russian bumper cars (I wrote separate piece on the scene you can read here). My favorite foot chase of all-time is similar in that aside from being gorgeously shot and exemplary action scene, Casino Royale‘s African Rundown serves as your first introduction to who Daniel Craig’s 007 was going to be (also wrote an article on that one here).
CineFix’s lists are my favorite because of the wide insight over the entire history of film and the different kinds of awards given to earn a place on their “Top” lists. Here they present a primer on cinema’s most kinetic action pieces. It’s a great homage to the chase and the directors who have done it best.
If you ignore the tacked-on Bourne Legacy, the Bourne series has been the standard in action-adventure. It’s grounded realism and intelligent plots were a good part of the reason the Bond series had to be dragged out of the 1970’s. Jason Bourne is the first film reuniting series star Matt Damon and director of films two and three, Paul Greengrass, in nine years. Was Bourne going to be back to his old tricks, or should this series have ended with The Bourne Ultimatum?Continue reading Movie Review: Jason Bourne (2016) *Is Bourne Back?*→
Matt Damon is currently in India promoting the release of Elysium in the subcontinent. He took some time to talk to reporters about his best friend, Ben Affleck, being cast as Batman opposite Henry Cavill’s Superman in Superman vs. Batman. He also addressed rumors that have been circulating that he’s contemplating a return to Jason Bourne.
“I think it will be great,” he says of Affleck’s casting. “It will be terrific. I know there are a lot of people grousing on the internet. I just think it’s kind of funny. You know, he’s not playing King Lear. It’s Batman! (I KNOW! IT’S SO MUCH HARDER AND MORE IMPORTANT – The Management) Certainly within his skill set. If anybody saw ‘Argo’ or ‘The Town,’ and all the work he’s been doing lately, it’s way more nuanced and interesting and way more difficult than Batman! Batman just sits there with his cowl over his head and whispers in a kinda gruff voice at people. Bruce Wayne is the more challenging part of the role, and Ben will be great at that… But it’s safe to say I won’t be Robin.”
Matt Damon may be my favorite actor (definitely top 5) so I’m going to let the Batman thing go and resist the temptation to post a picture of him from Liberace: Behind the Candelabra. I’m going to. Seriously. Ok, yeah. I lied. I react poorly to dismissive statements about Batman. And I LIKE Matt Damon. So, it can be much worse.
On the rumors of Damon returning to rescue the Bourne franchise from Jeremy Renner and the clusterschmuck that was The Bourne Legacy, Damon said, “They were just trying to revitalize that franchise and I didn’t mind at all,” he says. “It didn’t have anything to do with the movie that I made. It makes sense for a studio to keep those franchises as alive as they can, it makes business sense for them. I don’t begrudge anybody for that. I am a huge fan of Jeremy. I don’t equate my Bourne movie with his. He didn’t play the part of Jason Bourne. It’s a totally different thing.”
Of course he doesn’t equate his three with Renner’s one. Because this three were masterpieces and Renner’s made me want to self-perform dental surgery. Note that he did not dismiss or quash the rumors of a return though. He’s said in the past he’d be open, but not without Paul Greengrass returning to helm the film. The ending of The Bourne Ultimatum certainly left the door wide open, so if they can maintain the quality, I’d love to see him beating people senseless with household implements and driving like a bat out of hell in foreign cities again! I’m going to throw this up for debate: the Moscow chase in The Bourne Supremacy between Damon and Karl Urban. Best car chase ever? It’s mine. Discuss. Elysium is out in theaters and you should have already seen it!