A good sequel is one that sees the original as a jumping-off point, something to build on, while a bad sequel is one that merely wallows in the original, as a means of “paying respect”.
I left Blade Runner 2049 feeling an odd mix of amazement, and incredulousness. I knew I had to think on this movie, before writing this. And now that I have, I can firmly say, Blade Runner 2049 is, without the shadow of a doubt, THE best movie of 2017. Sorry, Nolan fans. It’s true. Dunkirk doesn’t even come close, nor does any other movie that was released so far.
‘Blade Runner 2049’ does to sci-fi, what ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ did to action. It gives the genre a much-needed shot of adrenaline, to keep it going. Calling it the best sci-fi movie of the year sure is a lofty claim, but it’s true. It lacks the pretension of Interstellar (the last half hour of it, though), the sloppiness of Ghost in the Shell, whose manga was, ironically, influenced by the original Blade Runner, and it lacks the cheesiness of modern franchise blockbusters. Which is a good thing. It’s slick. It’s taut. And it just works. Beautifully.
Now, Denis Villeneuve himself asked of the early reviewers to not reveal any plot points, or threads in their reviews, for fear of plot leaks, or early spoilers. I concur. I knew nothing of the plot, and watching it unfold left my jaw dropped, in awe of what was going on, and what was being revealed. I respect that. And so, this is not going to contain any major plot spoilers. Rest assured.
To kick it off, it must be acknowledged, that Villeneuve and his crew, have done a phenomenal job with the movie. There were so many ways a Blade Runner sequel might have backfired horribly. The rage of the fans and supporters of the original would have been nothing short of nasty, had this movie failed. In all honesty though, Blade Runner didn’t really need a sequel. It left its ending just ambiguous enough, so as to not warrant a sequel, and let us decide for ourselves. Was Deckard a Replicant? Why did Gaff leave the unicorn? Do they share memories? Why did he leave Rachael alive? Where do they go? These were probably the questions going through the minds of those who watched the original (the Final Cut, actually) and were blown away by it.