The Jason Bourne movie series has always relied on three key elements to keep its pulse thumping. First: the nature of identity. When we first met the aforementioned killing machine in 2002, neither we nor he had any idea who we were dealing with. As such, we got to play in the fascinating notion of what really makes someone who they are—past or present, deeds or intentions, witty repartee or grimacing action sequences? Right off the bat, the trailer for Jason Bourne grapples with the franchise’s premier concept. But now that he knows who he really is, so to speak, our hero seems to be knee-deep in more harrowing an identity crisis than ever before.
Which brings us to the second element: the action. Directors Doug Liman and Paul Greengrass established a rate, intensity, and aesthetic for action that has been mimicked time and time over ever since. Shakycam has been used to excess; elaborate set pieces across the genre have vied for the Bourne films’ harmony of realism and cinematic whimsy. Wedged at high volume between the existential paroxysms that bookend the trailer, we see as much action as might be shoved into a two-and-a-half minute window before. People are punched. Others are shot. We get riots. We get fires. Explosions. Motorcycle chases. Car crashes. High falls. Entire freeways toward to shreds.
And finally: Matt Damon. At one point in the trailer, Tommy Lee Jones raises the tongue-in-cheek question, “Why would he come back now?” Why revive Jason Bourne almost 10 years after the would-be conclusion of his trilogy? As proved in tandem by the disappointment of 2013’s Damon-lacking Bourne Legacy and last year’s Damon-packed The Martian, there’s simply just something about Damon. Though perhaps not armed with enough clout to sell a film on his name alone, Damon is the sort of extant star whose undeniable charm can elevate a hearty property to hit status. And though we get little more than a few glowers and non sequitur ruminations from Damon in the new trailer, we trust in his sustained ability to make us smile, even as the most stressed out amnesiac in cinema history.
Jason Bourne seems ready and willing to reconnect with the three key elements that made its predecessors work. Let us know if you’re excited to see Damon back in the saddle as this most forgetful of action heroes.
Image: Universal Pictures
Michael Arbeiter is the East Coast Editor for Nerdist. You can find him on Twitter @MichaelArbeiter.