On the 23rd of July, sixteen years ago, Matt Damon starred in The Bourne Supremacy, the follow up to the 2002 surprise hit The Bourne Identity. Appreciation for the original trilogy of Bourne movies starring Damon has grown in recent years, especially after the less stellar follow-ups to the action franchise with The Bourne Legacy and Jason Bourne. Fans of The Bourne Supremacy took to social media to declare their love for the film and celebrate its anniversary.

Supremacy continues the tale of amnesiac assassin Jason Bourne, played by Damon. After uncovering some of the secrets of his past in The Bourne Identity and realizing he no longer wants to be a government-certified killer, Bourne escapes to India to live a life of peace with his partner Marie. Unfortunately, his past catches up with Jason, and claims Marie's life in the process, leaving Bourne with no choice but to return to the States to exact vengeance and put an end to the demons from his past once and for all.

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Based on the best-selling novels by Robert Ludlum, The Bourne Supremacy was directed by Paul Greengrass from a screenplay by Tony Gilroy. The film, made on a budget of $75M, opened to $52M, before going on to gross $290M worldwide. The box-office earnings of the movie are what cemented the status of the Bourne series as a legitimate action franchise that continues to enjoy a huge fan following. In retrospect, the creation and success of The Bourne Supremacy seem inevitable, but as Damon once revealed in an interview, there was a time when such a project seemed highly unlikely.

"When The Bourne Identity came out I said, 'There is very little chance we will do a second film, just because nobody on the team who made the first wants to make another movie if it can't be as good as, or better than, the first one.'"

On social media, fans were eager to share their favorite aspects of The Bourne Supremacy, from the choice of music that gave the film its relentless pace, to a star-making performance by Matt Damon as the broken-down but ever-determined Jason Bourne. Some wished the film had made certain creative choices differently, such as exploring more of Marie and Jason's life in India before her death, to having the color palette for the movie be a bit more daring.

The impact of the Bourne series goes far beyond box office gross. The original trilogy popularized the concept of gritty, handheld action in big-budget movies, a trick that was then run into the ground by almost every action film that followed it, from Casino Royale to Fast and Furious. At the time, Matt Damon made for an unlikely leading man to play an action star across multiple films, but the actor has admitted that his own misgivings about taking on the role of Jason Bourne were ultimately, and fortunately, unfounded.

"I didn't know I could do it. Nobody did. But the reason I've had the career I've had is because of this character."

You can take a look at some of the other tweets celebrating The Bourne Supremacy as the arguement continues, is this the best Bourne movie ever made? And if not, which one is? Take a look.

Neeraj Chand