T2 Trainspotting (2017)

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Critic Consensus: T2 Trainspotting adds an intoxicating, emotionally resonant postscript to its classic predecessor, even without fully recapturing the original's fresh, subversive thrill.

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First there was an opportunity......then there was a betrayal. Twenty years have gone by. Much has changed but just as much remains the same. Mark Renton returns to the only place he can ever call home.They are waiting for him: Spud, Sick Boy, and Begbie. Other old friends are waiting too: sorrow, loss, joy, vengeance, hatred, friendship, love, longing, fear, regret, diamorphine, self-destruction and mortal danger, they are all lined up to welcome him, ready to join the dance.

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Critic Reviews for T2 Trainspotting

All Critics (230) | Top Critics (39)

"T2 Trainspotting" is mostly a character study of damaged people trying to reconcile their troubled pasts and find a motivation to move forward.

Mar 30, 2017 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

A film nowhere near as revelatory as the original, but in some ways more satisfying, the proper closing of a tale that had been left open-ended.

Mar 27, 2017 | Full Review…

Nothing in T2 is memorable.

Mar 25, 2017 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

Improbably, the film vaults over most pitfalls of long-threatened sequels while evolving the delicately crafted world in the original. It's a more sober, mature film, but no less entertaining or provocative.

Mar 24, 2017 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

With a pulsing soundtrack and an ending scene that cleverly ties the whole thing back to the first picture, T2 is a sequel that is at least the equal of the revered original.

Mar 23, 2017 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

T2 Trainspotting has one foot firmly planted in nostalgia and the other rooted in the present, and thanks in great part to Boyle's unique, world-class talent, everything old feels new again.

Mar 23, 2017 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for T2 Trainspotting

It?s actually pretty decent for a sequel, but my issue was I just didn't care about these characters anymore. It was entertaining when they were young and stupid, now they are just old, sad and pathetic. And the drug problems where I live are so much worse than when the original film came out... I am fed up with druggies and lowlifes in real life, it's not fun to watch them on a movie.

Nicki Marie
Nicki Marie

Super Reviewer

It's very rare that a sequel to a film is made almost a decade and a half later, stapling itself as a worthy successor, bringing back everything you loved about the original movie. Yes, it's been done many times before, but it's always a risk. That being said, I had no worries about Danny Boyle bringing back Trainspotting for a sequel, because the original was a film that benefitted from the time period it was in, so I was very much looking forward to the evolution of these characters in today's day and age. Although I don't think this film quite matches what made the first one special, I think it comes very close in making itself relevant. Sadly, not too many people gave their money to the domestic box office, so I'm here to say that it's definitely worth your time if you're a fan of the first film and have been hesitating. As mentioned above, I have to admit that the fans of the original should definitely look forward to viewing this sequel, but it's really only for those people. I personally think we're past the time of too many viewers discovering the original movie, unless they are die hard movie fans. That being said, let's dive into this wonderful sequel. Picking up 20 years after the events of the original, we see where each of these men ended up and (without spoiling anything) who still holds a grudge. Once again, this film explores the depths of friendship and life itself. Society has changed since the first film and this movie isn't afraid to showcase the good and the bad. For these reasons, it was definitely worth bringing back to the screen. Whether or not you wish to see more of certain characters, Ewan McGregor's portrayal of Renton/Mark and Jonny Lee Miller's portrayal of Simon. These two are reunited and become the central focus of the film, allowing other plot details to blossoms throughout. T2 Trainspotting is a far superior film in terms of displaying what the world is like and how technology is consuming us on a daily basis, which is not something that the first film could benefit from, so that was an improvement in my opinion. Where the film didn't quite live up to its predecessor, was in the simplistic story area. The original was all about drug use and the falling out of friendships by the end of the film. This film tries to wrap up too many loose ends, ultimately becoming slightly convoluted, albeit very effective at the same time. While the first film was incredible in terms of cinematography and visual storytelling, T2 Trainspotting improves tenfold in that department. From visually showing what a character is doing in a different light, to displaying the division of a friendship in a damn bathroom stall, to the fantastic camera movements getting you inside the minds of these characters, I found myself profoundly entranced by this movie. Although I enjoyed the premise of the first one more than this instalment, I found this sequel to be an improvement in almost every other way. I didn't expect to say this about such an offbeat movie like a sequel to Trainspotting, but this is a beautiful movie to look at. In the end, director Danny Boyle has crafted yet another very well-made film. It may not reach the heights of its predecessor in terms of storytelling, but it's visually stunning in every conceivable way. T2 Trainspotting is a sequel nobody really needed, but we should be lucky to have gotten. I can definitely recommend this movie to fans of the first film, but it's not accessible to newcomers. There are themes that newcomers can relate to, but the film as a whole just won't attract those who haven't seen the first portion of the story from 13 years ago. With a great soundtrack, fantastic direction, a very devoted cast, and a satisfying conclusion, this is a film that was well worth making. It's a little slow at times and I didn't always find myself invested in everyone's motivations, but it's still a great movie nonetheless.

KJ Proulx
KJ Proulx

Super Reviewer

½

T2 is an enjoyable production but principally aimed at idolizing the original for fans. The soundtrack includes remixed pieces of Underworld's "Born Slippy (Nuxx)" and Iggy Pop's "Lust for Life" as callbacks to the first feature. A few well-placed vignettes of old footage are strategically woven into the narrative. Additionally, much of the dialogue recalls the former film. Renton has a conversation with Veronika that references the famous "Choose Life" speech: "Choose Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and hope that someone, somewhere cares..." The pacing is equally brisk and there are plenty of random vignettes that will make you laugh. One entertaining bit has Renton and Simon distracting the clientele of a Protestant pub with an anti-Catholic chant after robbing them blind. In another scene, Renton and Begbie discover the presence of the other in a most amusing way. The scene is perfectly shot. The irreverent humor is still is there, although it's neither revolutionary nor necessary. T2 works but it needs the other to exist. It has been fashioned as an exceptionally well-made companion piece. fastfilmreviews.com

Mark Hobin
Mark Hobin

Super Reviewer

When Hollywood decide on doing sequels they tend to green-light them as soon as they see the box office receipts. The majority of the time it's a financial decision and they don't want to miss out on turning another coin. The same can't be said for Danny Boyle. He's waited 20 years to put this sequel together. The time had to be right, the actors had to naturally age and the script had to have substance. This wasn't just about cashing in. This was about doing justice to its predecessor. Many had reservations on this sequel even happening at all, such is the love for the first one, but T2 is still a meaningful journey and takes the lives of it's characters in a satisfying direction. Plot: Twenty years have passed since Mark Renton stole £16,000 from his friends and disappeared to live in Amsterdam. After a health scare, though, he returns home to Edinburgh where he has to face up to his old pals and, somehow, come to terms with his choices in life. Getting around Sickboy (Jonny Lee Miller) and Spud (Ewen Bremner) is one thing but Begbie (Robert Carlyle) is less forgiving and still has murderous intent. I'm a recent interview, Danny Boyle related a story about his time making T2 whereby an Edinburgh local (who witnessed and realised what they were filming) bluntly called out to the director: "This better no be shite, Danny!". I think it's fair to say that this person managed to convey the sentiments of everyone in a simple (but necessary) comment. This was always the worry when it was announced that Trainspotting 2 was going ahead. That said, the wait is over and Danny Boyle has now delivered his vision on the middle-aged lives of these much loved characters. This man's comment can now be answered and, thankfully, T2 is not shite. In fact, it's rather good. Back in 1996, Trainspotting spoke to a generation. A generation that suffered at the hands of a Thatcherite government that turned its back on the working classes who, steeped in poverty and desperation, succumbed to a drug epidemic that permeated their neighbourhoods. It had such a vibrant and passionate approach that it resonated deeply with audiences. It was hailed as a modern masterpiece of British cinema and, to this day, still remains one of my all time favourite films. Attempting to recreate that magic was always going to be an extremely difficult task. In fact, it's an impossible task. The original was never going to be surpassed. If you can accept that then you'll be more open to what T2 does deliver. It certainly won't appeal to everyone and those expecting the vibrancy and 'lust for life' attitude of the original will be sorely disappointed. It's a wise move from Boyle, though. He doesn't tread the same ground and pitches the tone with a melancholy sadness. But it feels authentic and John Hodge's script is fitting for the passage of time. The youthful enthusiasm of these characters is now gone and in their place is a more mature and jaded view. Like life itself, it's abundant with reflection. However, despite the protagonists being 20 years older, they're still stuck with the same characteristics; Renton is still morally questionable, Sickboy is still wheeling and dealing, Begbie is still a deranged psychopath and, most tragically of all, Spud still struggles with addiction and recovery. Once again, the performances are excellent. All of the actors step back into their respective roles with absolute ease and the standout's are similar to the previous outing; Ewen Bremner's Spud brings the heart and soul while Robert Carlyle's Begbie brings the dangerous edge and gleefully dark entertainment. If one isn't attempting suicide by putting a plastic bag over his head, the other is popping copious amounts of Viagra and getting a hard-on for violence. Despite it's downbeat tone, though, it still has the ability to provide the laughs and hasn't lost touch with Irvine Welsh's black humour. Added to which, are welcome flashbacks and referential nods to T1 - which include cameos from Kelly Macdonald, Shirley Henderson, James Cosmo and Welsh himself. There are a couple of missed opportunities, though. In Welsh's follow-up novel, Porno, Renton would anonymously send Begbie gay porn magazine's when he was in jail. Naturally, it drove Begbie mad and he was determined to find the culprit. I thought this was one the novels most hilarious narrative strands but it's completely omitted here. The other thing is that John Hodge doesn't touch upon the Scottish Independence referendum of 2014. Considering Renton's rant from the first film about how "It's shite being Scottish" and "we're colonised by wankers" it's slightly disappointing that it was ignored. It does, however, do a clever and genuinely hilarious sketch on the ignorance of British Nationalism and the knuckle-dragging Orange order. It's probably the closest the film gets to any form of a political commentary. That said, politics are not the main focus here. It's about life and choices, it's about despondency and facing your demons. It's actually more in tune with Sickboy's world view from the first "You’ve got it, and then you lose it, and it’s gone forever.” T2 is not concerned with chasing the high's anymore, it's about accepting and living with the low's. It may lack the kinetic energy that made it's predecessor so entertaining but in its place is a maturity and a wisdom that can only come with age. In many respects, it's the ideal sequel. Danny Boyle employs his usual visual flourishes but he's more restrained and that's what the material demands. This is a nostalgic companion piece and there's not much more you can ask for. It doesn't match the first but, at the very least, it compliments it. Mark Walker

Mark Walker
Mark Walker

Super Reviewer

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