Poster of T2 Trainspotting with all the actors in toilets on it
The Big Picture

T2 Trainspotting

It would have taken Danny Boyle 20 years to find the right reasons to direct a follow-up to his brilliant 1996 indie movie, Trainspotting. A long period of time that could make us wonder if in the end it was a good idea at all…

Straightforwardly titled T2 Trainspotting, the sequel, coming out in the U.S. this Friday, is, just like its forerunnner, based on the characters and stories created by the Scottish novelist Irvine Welsh, with once again John Hodge behind the script.

The movie will follow the return of Mark Renton (Ewan McGregor) in Edinburgh, after 20 years spent in Amsterdam to build a new life, and his highly anticipated reunion with his old friends Sick Boy (Jonny Lee Miller), Spud (Ewen Bremner), and Begbie (Robert Carlyle).

In hindsight, it’s fair to say that Boyle’s attempt to add a long-overdue second chapter to his 90’s big hit – especially 2 decades later – is mostly expected to, if not disappoint, fall flat. However, in the opinion of this week’s selected critics, there still are a few things in T2 that deserve a round of applause, even though the result definitely fails to generate the same excitement as the first film did.

Not As Impactful As Its Predecessor

According to most critics, the movie just doesn’t manage to recapture the magic of Trainspotting, and it’s OK. “While T2 isn’t as tight or as groundbreaking as its predecessor, Boyle once again uses those expectations in his favor,” says one of the reviewers.

But although “T2 is constantly going in a thousand directions at once and mostly getting nowhere,” with noted low stakes and loose connections, the second film “provides not only perspective, but also a unique angle that allows Boyle to dig deeper into what makes his characters tick.”

Nevertheless, the main issue seems to be that by spending more time exploring its characters’ past, the story doesn’t focus enough on the present.

Not An Usual Sequel

T2 is more about what made the characters become who we know they are than their future, which, by using the sequel to investigate the first film, creates a movie similar to Back To The Future II. One critic summarizes this well: “Boyle is able to show that what drove these men to drug addiction was never really about the drugs or even youthful abandon.” Adding that “the film’s comment on nostalgia ends up making it a wry commentary on the nature of sequels.”

Danny Boyle’s Visual Appetite Still Impresses

While T2 can disappoint in its lack of freshness and ambition, the sequel is described as Boyle’s most visually eager movie through his use of numerous cinematic techniques, such as “8mm flashbacks, projections, deranged Dutch angles, and, in what may be an early low for cinema in 2017, the application of Snapchat filters.”

Best quotes from the reviews:

“Having reached middle age and found themselves somehow down and out in Scotland, the characters are obsessed with how they got there and slightly less fussed about what to do about it.” –

“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.” – Ian Freer, Empire

“In their efforts to delay a complete reunion of this sorry foursome until the eleventh hour, Boyle and Hodge keep a lot of plates busily spinning, without serving much meat on any of them.” – Guy Lodge, Variety