T2 Trainspotting (2017) – Review

Director: Danny Boyle
Starring: Ewan McGregor, Robert Carlyle, Ewen Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller, Anjela Nedyalkova

The Overview
A continuation of the Trainspotting saga reuniting the original characters. (Source: IMDb

The Good

I was wholly sceptical of this sequel to 1996’s classic Trainspotting, that was until I saw the trailer and then it shot its way into my most anticipated films for the year. My hopes were that it would “be great to see the classic characters again, and I have very high hopes that this will be a sequel which does live up to expectations”. Well, it’s 50% of the way there at least!

Having only spent 90 minutes with these characters in the first movie, but over 20 years worth of repeated watches, it is unquestionably great to see the old gang again, and it really does feel like checking in with old friends. The cast all do a fantastic job and you’ll barely notice that 20 years have passed; Bremner and Carlyle are particularly excellent, but aside from one of the new characters (we’ll get to that), there were no weak links. 

Like the first, it is consistently funny, and solidly entertaining in its own uniquely dark way, and is generally much lighter in tone than the original movie. 

T2 hits all the right nostalgia notes, although seemingly a little too self-referential at times, it serves as a good reminder about the power and impact of the first movie, even after all this time. Whilst undoubtedly taking its cues from the first film, it never tries to emulate or recreate it and this is a wise move. 

There are some great creative touches from Boyle and interesting camerawork that keeps things moving at a fair pace and you certainly won’t be bored watching this one!

The Bad

There’s nothing devastatingly bad about this film, it’s just pretty average. It is exactly as good as it needed to be, but never strives for greatness. It feels like it has resigned itself to the fact it won’t be as good as the original, and it never even comes close to matching its greatness. It’s good but not great essentially and that’s a bit of a shame. 

Whilst undoubtedly fans would be expecting to see Kelly Macdonald’s Diane show up, her inclusion is entirely pointless, adds nothing to the story and just whiffed ever so slightly of “trying too hard” to make sure all the references boxes of the first movie were ticked. 

Similarly, new character Veronika (Nedyalkova) added absolutely nothing to the plot. Her character seemed to do nothing but get in the way, the attempts at a romance seemed half-assed, and she was generally underdeveloped and uninteresting. 

It’s a little slow to get going and whilst it does settle into itself originally, it lacks the initial punch needed, and could’ve easily lost about 20 minutes of its run-time.  

The Verdict 

I saw this movie and you should do. It is worth noting that there is a caveat to this however; seeing this film is almost entirely pointless if you haven’t seen the first film. As a standalone film, it has very little to offer, as a nostalgic trip down memory lane and catch up with old friends then it does deliver. It’ll remind you of the greatness of the first movie for sure, but it’ll have you reaching for your old DVD of that, rather than reaching for your wallet to buy another ticket for the sequel. Worth a watch, and fans of the original in particular are sure to have a good time. 

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3 comments

  1. Good review! Really enjoyed it, I felt like there were moments that hit greatness – Spud’s attempt to kill himself early on and the hilarious Battle of the Boyne sequence among them – and without it quite reaching ‘Trainspotting’ Boyle brought things back nicely

    Like

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