I’m about halfway through The Bourne Ultimatum and it occurs to me that this series, like so many of its kind, are ones where a lot of the men who watch it fail to come away with the right message even though it’s really overt and obvious.
Just like in Mad Max, Jason Bourne doesn’t want to be involved in any of what happens. He wants everyone to leave him alone and yet invariably people keep involving him in their black ops bullshit, largely because they make assumptions about what he wants. In fact these men specifically assume that he is operating with the same desire for power/control that they have. At every turn these men escalate the situation and force Bourne to respond with escalating amounts of violence, which only confirms in their mind that he is a threat, even though in every instance they are the ones to first make threatening moves. Bourne even goes out of his way to use non-lethal force when at all possible and this remains a constant for him over the course of the first three films.
The only people so far who has even come close to understanding Bourne’s motivations or reacting in a way that doesn’t escalate have been Pamela Landy and Nikki Parsons and you can’t tell me that this isn’t in part because they are women working in a field that is dominated by men. Both training and experience have made them a far better judge of character and intent than any of the men they’re forced to work with. Landy does make some wrong assumptions about Bourne, but her basic understanding of his motivations is really solid.
P.S. I love Pam Landy, she’s so great. I am 300% more invested in her than I am Jason Bourne.