Will The Bourne Legacy Usher in the Story-Less Movie?

As summer went on, the plots of 2012's blockbusters seemed to become increasingly weak and tangential to their movie's appeal. Now that The Bourne Identity leaves audiences wondering what actually happened to Ed Norton's character anyway, is it time to prepare for an entirely story-less blockbuster movie?

  • Share
  • Read Later
MARY CYBULSKI / UNIVERSAL PICTURES / AP

Jeremy Renner as Aaron Cross in a scene from "The Bourne Legacy."

A thought occurred to me while watching The Bourne Legacy the other day. That thought was, quite simply, This movie makes no sense. I don’t just mean in the sense of, “Wait, how did he know that vital piece of information when he wasn’t in the room when it was revealed?” either. The latest installment in the Bourne series happens to ignore narrative logic altogether, preferring to forgo such traditional concerns as “character motivation,” “character development” or “character arcs” in favor of… Well, I’m not entirely sure what, to be honest. Action, perhaps? Visually spectacular chase sequences involving motorbikes?

That a big action movie can pretty much entirely flunk Storytelling 101 may not be the biggest surprise in the world to people, but what struck me about The Bourne Legacy wasn’t just that it failed to tell a story successfully, but that it didn’t even seem to try. You see, The Bourne Legacy lacks the two things that you expect every movie to have: There isn’t a beginning, and there isn’t an ending. Thanks to some clumsy sleight-of-hand about two-thirds of the way into the movie, the antagonists up until that point disappear from everything that follows, replaced by a stand-in bad guy from out of nowhere who drives (literally) the climactic chase sequence. The replacement villain is ultimately defeated, which gives the movie some sense of conclusion, but entirely ignores the fact that nothing has changed from the midway point of the movie as the credits roll, and the ultimate bad guy of the movie — the corrupt U.S. Government agency behind the programs to create super-soldiers — is left to menace another day. Almost every plot remains unresolved, almost every explanation unmade. Who is Aaron Cross? You don’t really have that much more of an answer after watching the movie than you do from watching the trailer. He’s Jeremy Renner’s latest competent action hero (see also: Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, Marvel’s The Avengers); that’s all you need to know.

Stranger, still, is that the movie’s lack of story is apparently not a problem for most people. Not only did the movie debut at the top of the box office this past weekend, but the movie’s critical notices (which have been amusingly split) include praise for its momentum, its “turn-your-brain-off” qualities, and the sheer breathlessness of the experience of the film. As Tim Robey of the Daily Telegraph puts it, “Caveats come later: while it’s pulsing on screen, you won’t want to be anywhere else.” The critics at the screening I went to seem to agree that summer movies aren’t about story, but about spectacle. As long as you have enough memorable scenes of special effects or action in there — for example, Jeremy Renner wrestling a wolf, which he then goes on to punch in the face — then people will want to see it.

(MORE: Bourne Beats Batman, Ferrell Outpolls Streep)

This isn’t anything new, of course; I’m sure that everyone could reel off a list of blockbuster movies that have left them scratching their heads in confusion afterwards. (When I asked for suggestions of movies that made no sense on Twitter last week, I was flooded with responses including, but not limited to, all of Michael Bay’s Transformers movies and “everything Nic Cage has done since 2007″). You could be tempted, though, to imagine that this summer was been a highpoint for nonsensical movie making, whether it’s illogical climbing sequences in The Dark Knight Rises, confusing time-travel in Men in Black 3 (“Men in Black 3 doesn’t end with flimsy logic,” explained Entertainment Weekly. “It ends with anti-logic. It feels like the natural endpoint for contemporary blockbuster filmmaking”) or, of course, 8,000 miles of anti-science in Total Recall. That’s likely just the end result of immediate exposure to the stupid, however. All it takes is a look at the most successful movies of recent years to realize that, well, maybe logical stories aren’t exactly what the people want, after all.

And yet, if we don’t enjoy big blockbuster movies for their stories, why do we enjoy them? It’s a difficult question to answer, because for every possibility, it’s relatively easy to come up with an example to throw it into some doubt. For example, if you push the idea that perhaps it’s the actors and their performances that lure us into the big summer movie of the year, you only have to be pointed in the direction of the Transformers movies, with paper-thin portrayals from the likes of Shia LeBeouf and Megan Fox, to suggest otherwise. But then, you might argue, perhaps it’s the special effects and visual overload that makes us show up at the theater time after time; after all, Transformers may have its faults, but the films look amazing, right? Except, of course, if it were merely eye candy that people wanted, then why were such visually spectacular movies from recent years like Speed Racer and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World failures?

The secret ingredient, I suspect, is comfort. It may sound counter-intuitive to describe such movies as The Bourne Legacy, The Dark Knight Rises or The Avengers as “comfortable,” exactly — aren’t they all meant to be edge-of-the-seat experiences, after all? — but that’s exactly what they are. The overwhelming majority of successful blockbuster movies are the cinematic equivalent of comfort food, giving us exactly what we both expect and want with the minimum of fuss, and using characters or concepts to which we as an audience already have some form of attachment. Even once you throw out the sequels, prequels and reboots of existing movies, you still have all of the movies based upon toys we played with, comic books we read or television series we watched as children. There’s definitely an argument to be made for this comfort-led approach: The audience gets to know what to expect from their entertainment before they pay for it, and the studios are making less of a gamble with their investment in developing and making the movies, because, hey, known quantity and all that. Less cynically, of course, there’s an opposing argument to be made for the value of pleasant surprises and new ideas, but in almost every clash between culture and commerce, it generally pays to be cynical, sadly.

(MORE: Hollywood Mystery, Solved: 29 Movie Head-Scratchers Explained)

Viewed from that perspective, the success of The Bourne Legacy makes far more sense. Even for those who haven’t been paying attention to the Bourne series up until this point, there is a lot to find familiar in this latest installment. Not only are there familiar faces throughout the movie — Look! It’s Hawkeye from The Avengers and that guy from Fight Club who was the Hulk before Mark Ruffalo! — but each one is playing a character so undefined as to be easily recognizable in their genericism without the writers needing to lift a finger to define them. Almost everything about the movie is so unoriginal as to feel as if it’s come from another movie; the fact that there’s no real connective tissue or narrative through line to connect those scenes almost becomes unimportant in the face of the accidental nostalgia and emotional connections they evoke. It’s not that The Bourne Legacy is a good movie in and of itself, perhaps, but that it reminds people of enough other good movies that they still manage to find the viewing experience worthwhile. (Plus, you know, wolf-punching.)

Let’s say that The Bourne Legacy‘s primary appeal is its similarity to other movies. It raises a question that will thrill studios and filmmakers as much as it’ll terrify cinema purists: How long until we get a movie that just does away with any pretense at story altogether? I’m not talking about a “best of” sequence like the 1970s compilations of sequences from MGM musicals — although, come to think of it, there probably is a market for a “That’s A Never-Ending Montage Of Chase Sequences, Punches and Frowning” movie — but something more akin to an even more over-the-top Jackass, with elaborately stylized stunts and scenes beyond the scope of that show’s extreme “reality.” Imagine it: scene after scene of big-name actors in fantastic, CGI-ed locations in a series of set-pieces that continually amaze, shock and awe the viewer without the need to connect with anything that’s come before or comes after. Freed of the constraints of having to make sense, more energy could be poured into this particular mutant haiku of cinematic spectacle, making every new sequence something for the audience to be thrilled by, something for them to cheer for.

Worryingly enough, I can imagine that concept working, and sooner rather than later. Our understanding of what a film should provide, in terms of story, has been shifting slowly for years. The notion of trilogies or longer franchises removed the need to (re-)introduce characters at the beginning of every movie, and now The Bourne Legacy has demonstrated that audiences are perfectly happy to do without any kind of climactic movement to tie up threads and close out movies, as well, as long as the right action beats are hit. All we need now is for someone to find success with a movie that dares to ignore the idea that we should be following the same sets of characters throughout an entire feature, and we’ll be well-placed for the next evolution in cinema as a mass-entertainment medium. Oh, we can moan and complain about the destruction of the medium and devolution of our attention spans, but, really? Deep down, we’ll probably be grateful. After all, weren’t the fake trailers the best part of Grindhouse?

VIDEO: The 10 Greatest Movies of the Millennium (Thus Far)

55 comments
mshavzin
mshavzin

You IDJUT! The menacing "agency" that created the trouble is the CIA and by extension the USA. Did you think they would defeat them??? And if Cross did defeat the CIA he would be abad guy. They defend people like you and me.

mshavzin
mshavzin

This is why I don't care for critics. The story has both end and beginning. It starts when a a purge is declared on the related programs after what Bourne did, and it focuses on an agent that survives it. It ends when the agent and his partner are free from persuit. How is there no story exactly? They escaped and now are safe. End. Of. Story.  If you didn't understand the characters motivations, then you need to check into a clinic. They wanted to stay alive, and in Cross' case he didn't want to become mentally retarded again. Like you.

RyanAlexanderSonner
RyanAlexanderSonner

I feel like the Ending to this was done much in a way... that the First Bourne movie was. It ended with the two passing along into a state of satisfaction if you will, love. In the next movie she's probbly going to die... and he's going to fight the agency, FRAG or whatever it was titled. What i want to know more of is his back story... why was he battered and bruised... did he yearn for a life of intellect after being introduced to it. Why did the wolves follow him? is it that the virus enabled him to become more animal? is it that we as humans cant reach our full potential of animalistic ways i.e. "an ant can carry 300 times his body weight naturally". So breaking past his normal genetic bounds made him more Animalistic? When will the tards at the agencies get what they deserve... and Will Erin Cross and Jason Bourne team together to give it to them?????

mshavzin
mshavzin

@RyanAlexanderSonner In a group home? yes you are treated rather badly. He cried when he thought they would send him back. Don't you recall the interview when he got introduced to the program? Did he yearn to be of normal intellect? Are you KIDDING??? Do blind people yearn to see? The wolves followed him because they were hungry. No other reason. Fight the agency? Are you all crazy??? That agency is America. Seeing how we want them to protect this country at all costs, is anyone really going to cry that they turned some soldiers into supersoldiers to do it? Especially if they agreed? There is no reason to fight the agency. Without the agency Cross would be in a group home eating jello trying to count to ten. He has no reason to hate the agency, even if they did try to scrub him. Our country is more important then he is. And Marta isn't going to die, nor is she some innocent. She is one of the scientists that made him.

jjones7635
jjones7635

Ah, Huh?  There is plenty of character motivation.  Aaron Cross is working for the program and seems to actually be a willing.  Apparently just because everyone went crazy at Treadstone doesn't meant he same thing happened to Alcon.  Cross is tired of being addicted to the meds and wonders doesn't like the fact he's targeted for assassination.  He's about to die (or so he thinks) if he doesn't get his meds so he seeks out the good doctor, she explains the whole deal and they try to save his life.  When you rant about "character motivation" it makes me wonder if you and I saw the same movie. 

mshavzin
mshavzin

@jjones7635 Cross isn't addicted to the meds. Its simply that without them he would revert to having an IQ of around 90. Meaning he would be back in a group home, or more likely dead. He is tired of being on a leash of the project by the meds. Other then that I agree. the fear of losing your mind seems like a GREAT motivation. Theres nothing I wouldn't do to kleep from becoming unable to tie my shoes.

Timothy Holm
Timothy Holm

Lack of story has never prevented porn from being popular.

Revenant
Revenant

This is,without a doubt,the most cynical piece on the movie industry I've read all year-and I agree with almost everything in it.

blog ward
blog ward

When it comes to what the local multiplex is showing, what choice do people have except between the biggest spectacles - or the most cynical comedies? Story is irrelevant because it's a contest between circus shows: people think they mustn't miss the 'biggest and best' - or the grossest fart joke. By the time they realize they've been huckstered, the next one is on its way.

Lars Ostrom
Lars Ostrom like.author.displayName 1 Like

The story in this movie was fantastic. The conspiracy widens, the origins of Treadstone are revealed, and we meet Aaron Cross, the only assassin (along with Bourne) who survives the government's attempts to shut down the program. Having the movie take place within the same time frame as the previous movie was outstanding. Everything is made completely clear. No, the movie didn't slow down to belabor every nuance of the plot. I appreciated that. It asks the viewer to keep up. Anyone who didn't understand who the final killer was or where he came from was simply not paying attention.

mshavzin
mshavzin

@Lars Ostrom  Exactly. Anyone that was "scratching their heads" is simply suffering from ADD. It was not confusing. The ending was there because they were free from persuit. The cops lost the scent, and the LARX guy was killed, so there was no way for Eric Beyer and his team to further track them. What was confusing??

Magpieview
Magpieview

As entertainment it's fine. There was a beginning, introducing a new character,  clear motivation (get the smart pills,smart virus before he turned back into a tea-partier) .  There was also the problem that once he had done that a lot of action was tacked on but no ending (angling for another sequel)

IceKeyHunter
IceKeyHunter

Ironically, Sight amp; Sound just declared VERTIGO - a movie often praised for its bold rejection of formal conclusions and sound logic - the greatest film of all time. Oh yeah, and it's almost sixty years old. Honestly, this is not a new trend, though perhaps it has become more lazy and pandering, we have always had the cliche "it's just a movie!"

Michael_G52
Michael_G52

I thought The Bourne Legacy was decent, which even by that small stretch way surpassed my expectations.  I didn't have the same problems as described in this piece, simply because I don't happen to believe it has those sorts of problems.  It has problems, don't get me wrong.  But a lack of plot?  The story takes place during the time frame of The Bourne Ultimatum, so to complain that it has no beginning and no end is pointless.  I think the issue here is not the string of Hollywood tentpole films with no plot, but the pre-planning of franchises that haven't even succeeded at the box office.  Prometheus is a good example.  I enjoyed the film but hated the  ending because of the audacity of Ridley Scott and 20th Century Fox to fish for a sequel so blatantly.  Yes, it's sequel has by now been greenlit, but what if it hadn't?  Studios can't really afford to gamble like that, can they?  Look at the current Robin Hood, also directed by Scott.  You think that film will ever garner a sequel, despite set-up for one in its conclusion?   Fortunately the ending of Robin Hood can leave the further exploits of the title character up to the viewer, because in a sense we already know where these events will lead, in a roundabout way.  

Getting back to The Bourne Legacy, there is no doubt in my mind that any questions we have will be addressed in the eventual sequel.   But I must add that not only was the identity and background of the man chasing Renner and Weisz in the final third of the film explained, so was Norton's, albeit quickly.  I am quite sure if there was more exposition for this assassin character, Larx-03, the complaint would be that his presence bogged the story down rather than simply confusing the writer of this piece.  The pacing dictated the speed of the exposition, and Norton did acknowledge that this man was part of a different project they  had on the backburner, and was sent in because his current job at the time coincided with Renner and Wiesz's position.  

What the Bourne franchise is doing now is nothing different than what Twisted Pictures was doing with the Saw franchise.  Each subsequent picture added one more puzzle piece to the developing series.  Whatever questions were left unanswered in one picture were either answered in the following film or the one after that.  

If you want to find an actual "ending" to the Bourne series where it lays at this moment, prior to the release of the expected sequel to The Bourne Legacy, look no further than the ending of The Bourne Ultimatum.  

John Grabowski
John Grabowski

What took this writer so long? This has been the situation for at least a decade. Once again, the mainstream media gets to the story years after the rest of us do, and then trumpets their "discovery." Is this writer going to tell me Star Wars The Phantom Menace made sense?

Thomas S. Tucker
Thomas S. Tucker

The first Bourne movie contained some little bit of the book story, but from #2 on, there was absolutley no correlation between the movies and the books.  Now it's worse.  All it has turned into is a money making scheme for Hollywood.  Not worth spending ten cents on.

John Munro
John Munro

I liked the first... 3/4 or so of the movie, I found it engaging.  But I did expect it to lead somewhere and was disappointed with the chase and the ending.  It felt like a lazy way to end the story.  Kind of like the classic 'and then they woke up' ending to kids stories which means you don't really have to explain or connect anything that went on before.

Blue-eyed Gal
Blue-eyed Gal

I thought the Bourne Legacy was basically an excuse to play with color grading.

Lay more of that orange and teal on me, baby! 

bai_bai
bai_bai

International box office now drives ultimate movie success. Movies in which the story - dialog - is not relevant compared to the action sequences are easy to translate. In fact, no translation is required. Expect more of this.

John Grabowski
John Grabowski

Expect more of this? Every movie for the last ten years except for indie productions with miniscule budgets has been this way. I literally have not seen one film in the last five years I'd call "great," or even better than "decent," and decent are the Miramax and Weinstein Oscar winners. The mainstream studio fare is unwatchable and nonsensical, as the Time writer has just awakened to, a decade late.

J Villain
J Villain

 The latest Bourne movie should have been named Black Briar or Tread Stone. That would have made more sense and given them more options going forward.

But as to the topic at hand I want a story amp; Character development and I don't want to spend $$$ to watch a video game. If they are wondering my movie attendance keeps dropping they can look in the mirror. I suspect this Borne and this Batman did good based on the movies that came before them that had very good stories. The next movies in these franchises will probably tell us more about these movies that we know right now.

Andre Samosir
Andre Samosir

Are you trying to tell that video games are beneath Hollywood movies in terms of storyline/character development?

Will Dean
Will Dean

Uh, hello?  Story-less movies have been a blockbuster staple for decades.

peabody3000
peabody3000

even for a bad movie, why does a review like this have to be one long litany of spoilers?? all the critical points could have been made without explaining the whole timeline of the movie in detail

John Grabowski
John Grabowski

How can a movie with no plot have "spoilers"?

peabody3000
peabody3000

now dont go all simple on us.. no matter how many typical plot elements may be missing this is clearly a spoilerfest

primadiva
primadiva

leave it alone. Jeremy Renner is a hot star.

18235
18235

these movies are aimed at stupid 14 year olds----really; nothing cynical about it; it's a fact.

# of articles over the years that producers make movies for 14 year olds----and illiterates in foreign 3rd world countries.

and starting in the 1960s, there were lots of spagetti westerns that never made any sense.

William Howard Zorn
William Howard Zorn

blockbuster, big budget movies stopped having stories that made sense a decade or two ago for the most part. Its been a series of ever inceasingly unlike and often impossible under the rules of physics, ( of common sense) action segements, one after another, the next one louder and flashier. Rinse and repeat,

Fatesrider
Fatesrider

Inasmuch as I like action films, and don't much like drama, the thing that always hooks me is story.  If it tells a story well, I'm sold.  It doesn't have to be a GOOD story, but it has to at least be told well.  Avatar is an example of a regular, predictable story told well.

Transformers wasn't very good.  It was chaotic and though it told a story, it didn't tell it well.  Scott Pilgrim told a predictable story told very well.  It had a very imaginative approach to boy meets girl.  Saving Private Ryan was an excellent story told VERY well.

Granted, everyone has something that makes them go see a movie.  Some people are entertained by a bunch of nonsensical, improbable action (Cutting a building in two and it not falling to pieces immediately?  Really?) and even less probable dialog, but if that's what blows their hair back, great.  Sometimes you need that to get your mind off the kids, the yard, the job (or lack thereof) or just the way life is going at the moment.  So even though there are good movies and bad movies, everyone will have their own selections as long as the studios recognize that selection is still important.

Catering strictly to the bottom line with plotless action movies as vehicles for revenue generation may be good for business, but it sucks for the rest of the viewing audience.  As long as movies with decent stories are told well, I'll be satisfied.

Godzilla1960
Godzilla1960

The story-less action film is a bit of a redundancy, isn't it?  Terminator Salvation is the one that gets my nod for the award in this category.  

LaurenceGlavin
LaurenceGlavin

If I turn on the radio and tune to a pop or rock station, I'll here a "singer" or "singers" with no talent performing "songs" with no melody or in fact no content at all...and I'm not referring to rap, which is designed that way, but a typical "hit" record.  Some of the stories about the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Europe, referred to nothingness as the source of everything that is.  Hmmm...popular "culture" seems to have taken that to heart, if not mind.

Khamoti Kyu
Khamoti Kyu

bourne legacy is great as well as renner, now everybody just shut up and appreciate.

bournefan23
bournefan23

I totally agree with you.. yeah bourne legacy is a good movie afterall !

funisforassholes
funisforassholes

I started seeing plot threads unraveling in the last film, and it bitterly disappointed. The reason the franchise is successful is in the solid internal logic of the original premise. As that logic gets stretched, ultimately we are left with an inferior product, and it's no surprise Damon didn't want to do this. 

Graham McGrew
Graham McGrew

The storyless blockbuster, indeed the self-righteously anti-story blockbuster, was ushered in by the first Mission Impossible film, directed by Brian De Palma back in 1996. That was the first time I thought, Nobody has ever gone further in the direction of no plot, no characters, no motivation, just action set pieces strung together like popcorn kernels . . . And, despite the presence of Emmanuelle Beart, it sucked.

FumigatedBraincells
FumigatedBraincells

... of course in ANOTHER room is Jeremy Renner..   "Listen, kid, I think they all know now that you're not Daniel Craig(even though you've got the same face, clothes and love interest!!!) .. I can see it now.. up in lights...  Jeremy Renner amp; Matt Damon .. The Bourne Kleptocracy!"

mattysnuh
mattysnuh

Saw 'The Bourne' last night.  Half way through the movie, I was wondering why this movie was so disconnected, so long and with a limited plot?  I was actually getting anxious hoping that the movie was going to kick into the 'high gear' that I paid for and have grown accustom to.  Your article sums it up well...hopefully waiting for more intellect, verve and cinematic jolts as the movie season continues.

FumigatedBraincells
FumigatedBraincells

same here.. caught late afternoon show... could not believe that a  tremendous amount of time was spent resolving one or two issues and i felt myself getting restless... realized the last major set piece was verging on self parody and after it got to its anti-climactic conclusion thought.. "no way could this be the end!" and then the music started playing.   I had the feeling that I had missed something.  In school once when i was a kid.. they showed Fiddler on the Roof.. only we only had two hours so they removed one reel of the film.     I thought they had done it again.     Then the FIRST credit I saw is BASED ON A CHARACTER OF ROBERT LUDLUM... but it was the next credit that was telling... STORY, SCREENPLAY COWRITTEN BY, DIRECTED by the same guy... NOT ROBERT LUDLUM.    Oh well... glad to see that I'm not crazy ... well not THAT crazy anyway!

wandmdave
wandmdave

I feel some of it is audiences being duped by great marketing.  Movie with great visuals and action allows marketers to make great trailers and ad campaigns which for the most part is all people use to make a decision on whether to go.  That allow the movie to make a killing opening weekend before word of mouth can get around.  Based on the reaction I'd be surprised if its box office take holds up over the long term.

Speaking of which I'm surprised Batman was mentioned in here.  I did kind of wondered about the climbing scene for a second in the movie (how can the rope reach the ground but then when he falls it doesnt) but it was a minor enough point I could ignore it (loved the article linked to though, hilarious).  Otherwise it was no Shawshank but it had a solid story with memorable characters. It certainly didn't just forgo storytelling altogether.

NextPrez
NextPrez

I am a fan of the Bourne series but Bourne Legacy was just plain stupid. Why did AC need to put the think in the wolf's mouth when he could have left it in the open?  The editing of the whole film was worse and the ending was like no ending at all, the movie just stopped. What a farce!

Robert Huffman
Robert Huffman

It makes sense that it had to stay warm.  It also makes sense that we also wanted the chip to be *moving* in which the wolf was ideal for both of these.  Incidentally, he was also motivated by the idea of blowing up the wolves that were out to get him up to this point.  The part that *doesn't* make sense to me is this: once he caught the wolf, he used his gun to scare away the other wolves.  Rather than try and run from that last wolf, it seems like it should have scared it away with the gun too.  This limits the possibility of being within the explosion radius (and being hit by pieces of wood, rocks, etc), and limits the possibility of being seen on video briefly before it gets blown up (I don't know how much of a concern that was, probably little because they may see the wolf too), prevents the possibility of the wolf actually catching him (and then both being blown up), etc.  However, that would have made a scene that is a lot less cool.   They wouldn't have been able to include the classic Hollywood "jump with an explosion behind me" shot. 

In reply to 

McReady Blue: Even smart people can be duped, or tricked.  It's actually very simple if you set it up correctly.  Primarily, you need a way to keep them in the dark, and not ask questions (or, at least, have no way of getting those questions answered).  To follow blindly (which even smart people can do).  

They don't get to know how the other two pills work, and get some BS explanation about it, and they took those pills previously.  One thing you can do is to do random switch-out's like this periodically without harm (even if it's functionally the exact same pills as before) so they switch-outs become the norm.  Thus, when you do a switch-out to a pill that kills them, they take it without question, as they have done previously so many times.

Even a smart man can also be blind.  

Kevin Gallagher
Kevin Gallagher

The sensor detects body heat - that is why he put it in his mouth after he cut it out of his skin.

latinlyaahen
latinlyaahen

 No comment to your other opinions, this is the answer to your question "Why did AC need to put the think in the wolf's mouth when he could have left it in the open?":

CIA might be stupid, but they are not THAT stupid to think one could simply remove the planted chip and still trick the system. Right before the controllers dispatch the 2nd drone, I couldn't recall the exact words, but it was confirmed that the chip was in a "live"/"heated" environment. Which is the reason why AC went through all this trouble, and forced the chip into the wolf's mouth.

McReady Blue
McReady Blue

Watching the Alaska/wolves I thought they re-shot "The Grey" into a 30 minute short film.

For super agents that take smart pills, they sure were easy to dupe, fool, and kill.

Accent357
Accent357

You forgot to mention the new Spider Man movie, which is pretty much the old Spider Man movie. 

FumigatedBraincells
FumigatedBraincells

... well it was supposed to be a remake and retelling of the same story.. but even so i got the same feeling about this movie as I did about this season's spiderman.   I thought I had judged spiderman wrongly in comparison to the first series of films so I thought.. let me judge this movie as a stand alone work. And I almost choked back an outright guffaw in the middle of the last action set piece as the increasingly agitated villain emerges from an obstacle looking worse for wear, pissed, and yet still desperate to get his hands on that DARNED Abbot amp; Costello!   I thought I was crazy.. $11.50 and I thought that someone had forgotten to put in one of the reels.. then I remembered it's all ONE reel!!!