It has been more than two decades since the original Trainspotting film was released in theatres to much critical and commercial acclaim, and now an official sequel titled T2 Trainspotting has been released in theatres, showing viewers and even darker side to the characters they have grown to love over the many years.
Twenty years after the events of the original film, a much older and clean Mark Renton (Ewan McGregor) embarks on a journey to reunite with his former friends Spud (Ewen Bremner) and Sick Boy (Jonny Lee Miller).
I had only watched the original Trainspotting film recently, and I found it to be an excellent film that explores the mental struggles in people that use drugs, and how their lives can drastically change when being an addict. When I heard a sequel was being released, I was a bit nervous as usually, the sequel is not as good as the original. After watching T2 Trainspotting I can happily tell you that I found this sequel to be considerably better than the cult hit original from 1996.
Something I adored about T2 Trainspotting was the character of Mark Renton, once again played by McGregor. His character in this film is drastically different from the last time we saw him in Trainspotting. In the film, we learn quickly that Renton has not taken any drugs in years, which explains his behavior and overall state.
I also loved his journey finding his friends from decades prior. When we do finally get to see Renton with some of his past friends, it can make for some genuinely hilarious, and also downright emotional moments. Director Danny Boyle (who also directed the original) is able to blend a comedic tone with a dramatic one so excellently here, and even better than the original.
Something fascinating about T2 Trainspotting is how unafraid it is to show an even darker side of drug use than the original film did. This is something I thought could not possibly be done with this sequel, yet, it did it better. While watching this picture, some scenes literally made me tear up, and those scenes all had to do with the characters. It is not only Renton who has changed since the last time we saw them, but rather, everybody has changed, in some way or another for better or for worse.
The film is also considerably funnier than Trainspotting much to my delight. The original was extremely funny to me while also greatly incorporating a dramatic tone. Boyle was able to essentially take everything that made the predecessor so great, and double it. It has all the elements from the original, plus a few more, but are done even better which was great.
Speaking of elements that were added for the sequel, one of the most surprising things about T2 Trainspotting is how intense and thrilling it is. I did not find the original to be all that suspenseful, but rather a film that explores disturbing themes in a dramatic way. This sequel shows some things that genuinely thrilled me, in particular, the last twenty minutes. Boyle set up the ending so brilliantly, and made me question what would happen next.
It can feel a bit rushed at times, however, as we see Renton setting out on his mission to rendezvous with his old friends in the first ten minutes of the film. It would have been nice to have a bit more room for more things to happen, instead of rushing into everything in the first few minutes of the film.
Also, one character in the film makes a bold decision that I found rather frustrating. Everything this character did leading up to that particular scene was not annoying, but when this character make this decision, it deteriorated from my enjoyment of the film. I cannot discuss what it is here as it is a big spoiler, but when you watch the film for yourself, you will more than likely know what I am referring to.
Upping the ante, incorporating more suspenseful moments, and further developing our characters, T2 Trainspotting is one of the rare sequels that improves upon the original.
Overall Grade: A
MPAA Rating: Rated R for drug use, language throughout, strong sexual content, graphic nudity and some violence
Cast: Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller, Robert Carlyle
Directed by: Danny Boyle
Distributed by: TriStar Pictures
Running Time: 117 minutes