10 February 2017 | showmethemoviescontact
An immensely challenging sequel to produce; Danny Boyle's reprisal was never going to satisfy old fans and newcomers alike.
After twenty years, there would be obvious ambiguity in how to go about writing and directing this cult-classics' sequel. 2017 is brimming with sequels of both original movies and installments to well-established series; thus this may be a recurring issue in the near future. T2 Trainspotting is very clearly a movie made for the fans of the original, for people who loved the first film but haven't watched it in years, and have fond memories of it. This film preys upon the fact that some people will be so wound up in their own nostalgia that they won't give this film the independence from the original it needed.
T2 struggles to declare itself a story of its own; literal scenes from the original Trainspotting are shown to portray a reflection on the past repeating itself; but all that this shows is an unwillingness to write a completely original plot. It is likely Danny Boyle did this to appease fans, as going in a completely different direction would then annoy those who are devoted to the first film.
The story has a great premise; the Mark Renton (Ewan McGregor) returns to Scotland and meets with the lovable Spud (Ewen Bremner) and best-pal Simon (Jonny Lee Miller) once again - much to their initial disgust. Not long after, the return of Begbie (Robert Carlyle) fills the plot with more drama than a soap opera. The events that take place are mostly for comedic purpose, under the premise that the audience already know the characters (fair to assume, but not taking into account standalone viewers). A specific scene in which Simon and Mark are forced to perform a song in a loyalist pub had me laughing out loud in the cinema; so often the attempts at making the film light- hearted were received with a good response.
That being said, one of the things about the original is that it wasn't light hearted in the slightest. The characters were the only thing lovable about the film, not what happened to them necessarily, whereas T2 swaps this around - the environments were far more ostentatious in this film, bright neon lighting and fewer disgusting and dull backdrops make for a more optimistic view in this film - quite the opposite of what the original was about. It seems in trying to appease the fans of the original and placing the same characters in a repetitive-yet more flamboyant setting has managed to stray from the roots of what made Trainspotting great.
T2 could have been set anywhere provided the main characters still acted in the way that they do, and that's a shame - every piece of Trainspotting was necessary to put together the plot that was made.
Despite all of this - T2 is a good film. It's not a great film, but it certainly isn't awful either. Its' greatest failing is that it can't decide whether to create an entirely new story - which would abandon the roots of the original - or to re-hash Trainspotting - which would be total cowardice. The film does the worst of both worlds, in that it doesn't have a great deal of original thought but it also doesn't capture what the first film did.
On its own merits, T2 is a funny film; and it is enjoyable to watch. I didn't leave the theatre as disappointed as I would have anticipated, and the film didn't fail to put a smile on my face during. Despite the 20 year gap, the actors clearly haven't lost track of their alter-ego's nature - the performances were great and the chemistry that the actors had was immense, with a gleaming nod to Robert Carlyle.
I can still say I recommend T2, its not like the original in terms of quality or theme, but I would be lying if I said I didn't enjoy myself. I can make an odd comparison to another sequel, Aliens, in that both T2 and Aliens are very enjoyable, but both films also spoil the point of their predecessor in a sense.