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This weekend’s Comic Con in San Diego and the numerous blockbuster trailers that were subsequently released reinforced the fact that right now is the golden age for comic book fans.
Whether you’re Marvel or DC, Star Wars or Star Trek, one thing many characters have in common is their flawed, anti-hero archetype.
I’m not a huge superhero fan, but I do like action-packed movies with underdogs as the hero. I like the fast-paced thrill of watching someone in an impossible situation somehow make it out alive, defying all the odds stacked against them. I find this especially exciting when the lead doesn’t have any superpowers.
I’m at the age where, according to Stan Lee, if I had any X-Men type abilities, they probably would have surfaced by now. So, an average person being able to do above average things is simply more conducive to me living vicariously through the character.
That’s also why I can’t wait for the new Jason Bourne film.
Based on Robert Ludlum’s books, the first Bourne filmed premiered in 2002 with Bourne Identity, presenting movie goers with a deadly assassin who was shot and left for dead in the Mediterranean Sea, to later be rescued by a group of fisherman.
Though suffering from amnesia, Bourne is able to follow the chip in his hip and begin to unravel the mystery surrounding his previous life, falling in love along the way and taking out bad dudes with *just* enough effort to look both badass and believable.
The next two Bourne films continued the Treadstone recruit’s journey to confront the people who made him into a killer and then tried to kill him when he got a bad case of the forgetfuls.
Bourne is by no means a perfect character. His sentences rarely contain more than six words. He takes brooding to the extreme. We never see him fix his hair, yet it always looks perfect. By my count he’s made exactly one joke in three films, prompted by his girlfriend Marie to produce ID when asking to rent a scooter at her store. But we continue to root for him as the character who has experienced an awakening and realized that becoming a human weapon in an effort to serve his country may not have been completely on the up and up.
But what Bourne lacks in social skills he makes up for in ingenuity. What if I ever need to defend myself with a pencil, drive a 30 year-old Mini Cooper through the streets (and sidewalks) of Berlin, or run flat out for half a mile at a high altitude? There’s Bourne to show me how. Or at least, show me how it could be done. I think I’d still need a bit of training. Maybe there’s a YouTube video I could watch.
Plus, don’t even get me started on his ability to spy on people and end conversations with cryptic closing remarks. Boss status achieved.
Many of Bourne’s spy skills are seen in most superhero or Bond movies. Bourne enjoys the help of a sidekick for a few years, with his girlfriend Marie scoring bank codes and displaying impressive driving skills, but for the most part he is on his own. Bourne does have the big bucks of a Batman and Bond, but none of the fancy gadgets. He is expertly trained in the art of war, but must operate largely in the dark, as compared to the publically loved Spider-Man or Superman.
Of course, just about everything Bourne does if duplicated in real life would land a person in jail, which is why we instead go to movies and live through the screen.
He’s an anti-hero with a conscious, trying to right the wrongs of his past assassin life and make amends to those whose family members he killed, while also avenging the lives of people who died for him. Rather than try to take out everyone connected to Treadstone, he’s able to slow down and take into account that the evil doings of a few shouldn’t result in the deaths of many. Plus, he can read a city map, activate a cell phone, and breakout of a building in less time than it takes to write this sentence. Now that’s impressive.
So, maybe Bourne doesn’t have a cool costume or a sweet superpower, but what he lacks in flying abilities he makes up for in ingenuity.
If you haven’t seen the three Bourne films, there’s still time to binge, or you can watch this 90 second recap by Matt Damon. It’s wicked clever. Now cue Moby.