With the release of Jason Bourne coming up, all eyes are back on the gritty super spy
As part of the press campaign, Matt Damon gave an interview to GQ Magazine, in which he ruffled a few feathers by calling out spy rival James Bond as a “misogynist who likes swilling martinis and killing people and not giving a sh*t.”
Aside from the images of a truly epic Batman v Superman style film between the two espionage icons, Damon’s comments also make us think of the maturity and relative realism of the Bourne franchise, as opposed to Bond’s more campy disposition.
We’d have to concede that Bond is perhaps a relic of a bygone era, and Damon would be quick to agree with us:
“I like Bourne better than Bond. Bourne has today’s values; Bond has the values of the 1960s. Daniel [Craig]’s Bond has upgraded him and brought him more into the present, but, classically, that character is a misogynist.”
While the recent Bond films may have brought the character into the 21st century, there’s still a lot to be done for that franchise’s attitudes towards women.
Plus, “Bourne girls” – if there even is such a thing – are so much better than Bond’s.
More than just sidekicks
I sat down to watch Spectre a few weeks ago, and for the life of me I can’t remember what purpose Lea Seydoux’s character served, aside from getting into scrapes and being dragged around (almost literally) by Bond.
This is a far cry rom the Bourne series, where the female characters actually serve a purpose beyond looking good on screen.
Whether it’s divulging mission specific information, or simply furthering the narrative through some much needed character exposition, you can be sure that Bourne’s female counterparts have much more to give.
They don’t just jump in to bed
Bond is renowned for bedding his sexy compadres in his films. And this presents so many problems.
Forgetting the creepy way in which Bond’s conquests were almost actively encouraged throughout the 70s and 80s, and despite his recent update to reflect more 21st century attitudes, he still seems to be served up with a conveyer belt of typically attractive women from which to take his pick, and it’s just creepy.
Bourne, on the other hand, has a much more true to life attitude, and it’s something that Damon himself remarked on:
“Jason Bourne is a serial monogamist – and he’s tortured by the things he’s done and feels empathy and compassion for other people.”
In three films, Bourne has one ‘moment’ with girfriend Marie Kreutz.
More well rounded characters
Bond films are mostly standalone prospects; seperate stories in a connected universe.
As such, this means we get a revolving door of secondary-characters.
This process isn’t just reserved for the female characters, but it certainly doesn’t help them in their plight against Bourne’s fleshed out characters.
One film usually isn’t enough for strong characters to be completely built up, and we certainly can’t root for anyone if they show up for one movie and then dissappear.
The Bourne films on the other hand interlink and are meant to be enjoyed as a series. This means returning characters, which in turn leads to better development.
Julia Stiles’ Nicky Parsons crops up across all of them as a CIA officer with whom Bourne may have had a pre-amnesia relationship.
Brilliantly parodied in the Austin Powers films, the Bond series’ tendency to give love interests pun-tastic names is notorious.
There’s nothing particularly clever about Pussy Galore is there? How about Xenia Onatopp? Or Mary Goodnight? No sniggering at the back!
You may think this sort of behaviour is reserved for the 70s’ run of tongue-in-cheek Bond escapades, but no. In 2008’s Quantum of Solace we had Strawberry Fields who, while not carrying an obviously suggestive name, certainly had a silly one.
The Bourne series’ answer? Nicky Parsons, who appears across all four films with Damon.
Jason Bourne hits cinemas on July 29