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T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

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Twenty years later we’re finally getting a sequel to Danny Boyle’s under-seen hit, Trainspotting. When I first heard about this movie, I was pretty sure it was going to get an Oscar-friendly release. I was expecting to see it sometime during October or November, but instead we’re lucky enough to be seeing it here in March! I was so excited to check this one out, and I finally had the chance to, so let’s talk about it!

T2 Trainspotting is directed by Danny Boyle and stars Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremmer, Robert Carlyle, and Jonny Lee Miller. The gang is back for the first time in 20 years. Renton, Spud, Begbie, and Sick Boy, or Simon now, all meet back up, but not much has changed. Renton made enemies in the finale of the original 1996 Trainspotting, and now he’s in Scotland once again to learn who will rejoin his side and who is going to put him in danger.

First off, if you’re a fan of Danny Boyle’s writing and directional style, T2 Trainspotting is for you. It has his mark all over it, and that was probably my favorite thing about the film. The way shots were composed and the way he uses color was perfectly matched with the way he tells stories and decides what makes it onto the screen. This is his baby, and it’s obvious that he loves these characters and cares so much for them. The quick editing and extremely fast-paced way of moving scenes along is so refreshing and stylistic that I have to appreciate a director who comes in and doesn’t follow the stereotypes of Hollywood filmmaking. Next, this movie is really, really funny. Again, if you like Boyle’s style of comedy, I’d definitely suggest seeing this film because the comedy shines over everything here. Though I didn’t like T2 Trainspotting as much as I liked the original, I do think that this one is funnier, and it might be the best comedy we’ve seen from Boyle in his career. We’re constantly seeing unintelligent comedies that might give you a few big laughs here and there, but I usually have to rely on the smaller black comedies to really give me the laughs I crave. Yes, a lot of the jokes rely on fandom and knowledge of the first film, but it’s so smart and it calls back jokes and ideas that worked in the original, and the comedy works exceptionally well. It’s also just nice to see these characters back. I think most would agree that the best thing about the original is probably the characters and the character development. After such a long time since the first film, it’s just nice to see them back giving amazing performances in roles that they’re truly having fun performing in. They all have great chemistry, and that’s what makes it so much fun to see them back on-screen. It’s all capped off with an excellent finale that gives us one of the best directed and thrilling scenes we’ve seen from both films, and it leaves me wanting a third Trainspotting movie just to see these characters again.

I still don’t think that this movie was as good as the first film, and a lot of it is due to the fact that the character development and the story are both not as strong. In the first, we see the characters go from one point in their lives to a completely different one. We see change, and we learn so much about everybody through their actions, what they say, and what they don’t say. In T2 Trainspotting, it’s almost as though we’re watching a filler episode of a television show. Maybe it’s funny, maybe it’s nice to be able to hang out with the characters for a little while longer, but it still doesn’t feel like we went anywhere or ended up in a different place from where we began. There isn’t as much depth to the characters, so there wasn’t as much depth to the story. It mostly passed because we already had that character development from the first film, and that’s why it was easy to invest myself in this one. Also, there are some slight pacing issues with the film. Danny Boyle has such a fast-paced directional style that it’s easy to be sucked in and absorbed by everything on-screen. When the story matches the pace of Boyle’s direction, we have a compelling, hilarious story with impeccable editing and visually interesting shot composition. When the pace of the story falls behind Boyle’s directional style, camerawork, and editing style, I think it would be easy to lose the audience with the mismatched pace. Along with the pacing, the story does tend to get a bit jumbled here and there and it boils over with events as compared to staying contained and staying within itself, but by the end, my main takeaway was that I enjoyed spending two more hours with Renton, Spud, Begbie, and Simon.

Overall, anybody who is either a fan of Danny Boyle’s writing and direction or a fan of the first Trainspotting should check out T2 Trainspotting. If you’re a fan of either one, or even both, T2 Trainspotting will give you everything from a filmmaking standpoint that you want to see. Boyle proves that he’s a fantastic visual director, and this movie is a great follow-up to the 1996 classic. It’s mostly nice to see the characters back on-screen messing around and getting into trouble, and that’s what makes the film both hilarious and compelling. It does slightly feel like a filer episode of a television series simply because we don’t get much depth addition to the characters or their story arcs, but it’s a compelling, entertaining, funny companion piece to a fantastic film in the original. I’m going to give T2 Trainspotting a 7.5/10.

Will you be seeing T2 Trainspotting? Comment down in the comment section and let me know! Also, what do you think of the original Trainspotting! Leave your thoughts down below! As always, thank you, and keep listening to 88.7 The Pulse!


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Justin Lyons

Hey, it's Justin Lyons! I am the Chief Film Critic for The Pulse. Have any questions for me? Please feel free to email me at movies@pulseradio.fm