3. The Bourne Supremacy (2004)
Paul Greengrass, the man who would come to define the shaky-cam, quick-edit nature of the Bourne movies, made his franchise directorial debut with the much anticipated sequel to The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy (2004). The Jason Bourne character was no longer fresh, and as such this film does not rank above its high quality predecessor, but the 2004 film was a fantastic entry nonetheless, holding no punches (literally and figuratively) as it explored the workings of Jason Bourne’s amnesia with slightly more gusto than Identity, and signing the franchise with its now signature style.
2. The Bourne Identity (2002)
Doug Liman’s only venture into the Bourne universe was a solid franchise opener that brought about a wave of fan enthusiasm and investment from the minute it was released, and did so by presenting a series of questions surrounding the key protagonist without ever becoming too convoluted. This careful balancing act made for a good film which set the groundwork for one of the more watchable spy characters in cinema history; the beginnings of a franchise that would go on to make $1.6billion (£1.2billion). This film takes silver in this list because of the manner in which it set the tone for the franchise and indicated the first major shift in its genre for decades. It misses out on the number one spot because the next film is simply better.
1. The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
The final movie of the original trilogy was a huge success. Not only did the film satisfy the wants and needs of its anxious audiences who earned the film over $440M at the worldwide box office, but it also won critical acclaim by earning 3 Oscars (editing, sound mixing, sound editing), 2 BAFTAs (editing, sound) and a further four BAFTA nominations (film, director, cinematography, special effects).
This instalment tied up most of the Bourne story and featured arguably one of the best phone calls in movie history – “if you were in your office right now, we’d be having this conversation face to face” – but not only was it well written, shot and mixed, this film was also one of the more impressive examples of the so-called shaky-cam, quick edit, fight-scene technique that would come to define the franchise’s intense and brutal action sequences. If we are to look back through the career of both the director Paul Greengrass, and star Matt Damon, there’s no doubting that The Bourne Ultimatum is in contention for best film in each of their filmographies, it’s that good. One of the more enjoyable and technically impressive movies of the action-spy sub-genre in general, The Bourne Ultimatum is indisputably the number one film in the Bourne franchise.