T2 Trainspotting isn’t a bad film at all. In places, it’s terrific, but it too often drags in a pool of its own despondency, a miserable and melancholy movie that almost looks a bit embarrassed to be so.
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Like the original, T2 Trainspotting is a winning mix of low living and high jinx, a stylized spin on real life.
In some senses T2 shares elements with its Terminator namesake. It’s inventive and full of surprises. But unlike Cameron’s sequel, it doesn’t reimagine the original in quite the same glorious way.
Boyle has made an admirable effort that captures the melancholy of being right back to where you started from. But it's not what it used to be - or what it could have been.
Wiser, sadder but very much alive and kicking, T2 is a film that knows you can’t compete with the ghosts of the past. But at least you can dance with them.
A missed opportunity on multiple levels, T2 is stylistically an overwrought rehash which relies heavily on over-caffeinated camerawork and flashy effects (cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle's trademark gritty flair is overwhelmed by a flurry of Dutch angles and freeze-frames) to distract us from its essential paucity of raison d'etre.
It ends up feeling like going to a festival headlining date by a reunited Britpop band. It’s great to see them back together, they look pretty good for their age, and there are transcendent moments when they play the hits. But the set goes on a bit long, and the new material’s a bit forgettable, and they’re sloppier than they used to be, and in the end, you start to wonder if it had been better if you’d been left with your memories from back in the day.
Danny Boyle’s T2 Trainspotting is everything I could reasonably have hoped for - scary, funny, desperately sad, with many a bold visual flourish.
Like the original, T2 is happy enough spending time with its characters whatever they get up to. Very little that happens in the film seems to affect where it’s going, and the few things that do feel dashed off, almost as an afterthought. It’s also littered with callbacks to the first film – some as stirring as they are subtle, others exasperatingly cute.
The tonal shift in the sequel compared to the original means that, although there are plenty of moments of savage humour, the highs are just not quite so high any more. There’s a melancholy maturity, however, which is satisfying in its own way.