The Bourne Franchise Ranked

by Pjtaylor-96-138044 | created - 19 Feb 2016 | updated - 30 Dec 2016 | Public

This is how I rank the movies in the Bourne series, from best (#1) to worst.

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1. The Bourne Identity (2002)

PG-13 | 119 min | Action, Mystery, Thriller

68 Metascore

A man is picked up by a fishing boat, bullet-riddled and suffering from amnesia, before racing to elude assassins and attempting to regain his memory.

Director: Doug Liman | Stars: Franka Potente, Matt Damon, Chris Cooper, Clive Owen

Votes: 474,232 | Gross: $121.66M

While the fight scenes are a little less realistic and gritty, instead being a little bit glossy and utilising slightly 'cartoon-y' sound effects, the story and set-pieces elevate this to being my favourite of the franchise. The plot is more compelling than the sequels, the character of Bourne is sufficiently developed and has more of an arc and the action is varied enough to keep you consistently entertained.

2. The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)

PG-13 | 115 min | Action, Mystery, Thriller

85 Metascore

Jason Bourne dodges a ruthless C.I.A. official and his Agents from a new assassination program while searching for the origins of his life as a trained killer.

Director: Paul Greengrass | Stars: Matt Damon, Edgar Ramírez, Joan Allen, Julia Stiles

Votes: 578,807 | Gross: $227.47M

This is where Greengrass really grew into his style, providing edge-of-your seat action and suspense throughout. The story as a whole is pretty weak and Bourne isn't really developed, but the fights are visceral and frenzied and the espionage comes across as tangible.

3. The Bourne Supremacy (2004)

PG-13 | 108 min | Action, Mystery, Thriller

73 Metascore

When Jason Bourne is framed for a CIA operation gone awry, he is forced to resume his former life as a trained assassin to survive.

Director: Paul Greengrass | Stars: Matt Damon, Franka Potente, Joan Allen, Brian Cox

Votes: 406,530 | Gross: $176.24M

The original trilogy are all of a similar quality, but I think this is marginally the weakest of them. The story is still compelling and the government angle feels a little more cohesive, but Greengrass is still getting used to the style leading to a couple of action scenes that are slightly too shaky for their own good.

4. Jason Bourne (2016)

PG-13 | 123 min | Action, Thriller

58 Metascore

The CIA's most dangerous former operative is drawn out of hiding to uncover more explosive truths about his past.

Director: Paul Greengrass | Stars: Matt Damon, Tommy Lee Jones, Alicia Vikander, Vincent Cassel

Votes: 189,969 | Gross: $162.43M

The return to the franchise that nobody expected, needed or wanted is just as you'd hope; not terrible, but it isn't great either. It is extremely unnecessary but a good time nevertheless, despite it's generally unmemorable and somewhat messy nature.

5. The Bourne Legacy (2012)

PG-13 | 135 min | Action, Adventure, Thriller

61 Metascore

An expansion of the universe from Robert Ludlum's novels, centered on a new hero whose stakes have been triggered by the events of the previous three films.

Director: Tony Gilroy | Stars: Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton, Scott Glenn

Votes: 268,072 | Gross: $113.20M

This attempt to restart the franchise came across as just plain unnecessary, and the final film was a disappointment to say the least. It felt too long and was honestly quite boring, plus it ended seemingly before it even started - a cliffhanger that itself was dreary, leaving no-one pining to know what happens next and - due to the fact that the franchise seems to have regained Greengrass and Damon - we will probably never know what happens next.

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