Thanks in part to furiously effective sound mixing, jump cut editing, stunt work and mounted car camera footage, The Bourne Ultimatum is the snap, crackle and pop finale that all fans of the franchise have been hoping for. But there’s no denying that as with any effective superhuman action movie, there are riddles to be pondered...
For the first time on a Bourne film, Damon has allowed almost total access to a journalist and will spend several days telling me his 'war' stories – not just about the movie, which required him to spend six months being hit and learning to fire an arsenal of real guns, but about a delinquent childhood, a brush with death by starvation, and persecution as a "traitor" by sections of the American media. He's articulate, open and as ferociously intelligent as you would expect for a Harvard man (although he dropped out after two years to pursue acting).
He wears black jeans and a black shirt over his lean but muscular frame. With his straw-coloured hair cut short, he has the air of a young senator: all angular features, New England accent, disarming smile and realistic views about the fragility of his celebrity.
...Only once it had been identified did the vicious cycle stop and Damon could get back to work – and as if on cue a runner from the Bourne unit arrives at our cafe to request Damon's company; happily, he suggests we talk again in a couple of days' time. When we do, he's at his rented house near Pinewood studios in Buckinghamshire, cradling his youngest daughter.
At 36, he's been happily married to Argentine-born former barmaid Luciana Barroso for two-and-a-half years, and they have two daughters, Isabella, just turned one, and Alexia, eight, his wife's child from a previous relationship.
"Look, I'm sorry about this," he says, "but my wife's gone out and I've got the kids and their friends. Just a second."
He breaks off and explains to the youngsters that if they go and play for a while, he'll take them to the park. Isabella continues to gurgle on his hip while we talk.
He's been a vocal opponent of the war in Iraq and has taken a lot of flak for speaking out publicly against it.
If Damon sounds intense, he's not – none of us are used to Harvard-educated A-listers with a clear moral compass and precise opinions – and he suggests that next time we meet up we have a beer.
Will his friends George Clooney and Brad Pitt be there, I wonder?
"Now those guys are kindred spirits," he says. "Having a beer with those two is exactly like having a drink with guys I grew up with. It's just like any other group – cards, pool, a few beers. Behind closed doors you would have no idea of all that stuff. If an alien came down and saw George and Brad in a room with ten other guys, they would not be able to point out the movie stars based on how they were behaving."
The same is true of Matt Damon, of course, and maybe that's the big difference between Bourne and Bond.
Every actor who's ever played 007 has been associated with the character for ever more, but Bourne's identity lives only on the cinema screen. Outside, Matt Damon is free to be himself. Like Bourne never existed.