Why do I now prefer the Bourne films over the Bond films?

Go Matt Damon, go!

The Daniel Craig Bond films have, arguably, tried to bring the character of James Bond closer to the man portrayed in the original novels. Not a man with gadgets coming out of every orifice, but a man who often had only his wits to help him.

Then you have characters like Jason Bourne from the Bourne series of films and the novels they’re loosely based on. A man who has only ever had his wits and has never been inundated with gadgets or any (at least in the films) slappings of male power fantasies.

And while, depending on who is at the helm, both must deal with insidious government agencies that position themselves above all, despite the overall similarities in some of their plights – I prefer the films of Jason Bourne over James Bond. But this was not always the case.

At around the same time as Craig taking over as Bond, my tastes in film changed and I watched the Bourne films for the first time. Having previously liked Bond, I found Bourne to be far more agreeable.

Now, what is apparent from the first two Bond films with Craig is that someone, somewhere, had taken note of what people liked about the Bourne films. The sort of gritty, hardly a gadget in sight, anti-establishment, vulnerable, such and such that Bourne had going on.

But when I tried watching Craig as Bond, the faint whiff of what Bond had come to represent in popular culture was still there: gadgets, girls, guns and cars. Sure, this Bond was suffering loss, but nothing to the degree Bourne would during his first two films.

But actually, the gadgets, girls, guns and cars aren’t the real reason I’ve gone off the Bond films. You see, when I tried watching the previous two Bond films, I didn’t understand what was going on. And while I’m not the kind of audience member who needs exposition handed out on a plate, I found Quantum of Solace and Casino Royale to be very hard to follow.

I’ve watched those two films twice now and still their plot eludes me. However, I understand the plots of the first three Bourne films and I understood them the first time that I watched them, but there wasn’t tonnes of lazily done exposition to get me to that level of understanding.

So the reason I like Jason Bourne more than James Bond these days is quite simply due to the quality of plotting and exposition.

But that’s just me.

The above also means that I’m looking forward to The Bourne Legacy far more than Skyfall.


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