Bladerunner 2049 is everything a fan of the original could hope for in a sequel, yet still stands on its own as a remarkable achievement.

When a sequel or remake is made decades after a treasured piece or art is released, I can only hope it takes what made the original special, while adding the benefits of time. Bladerunner 2049 hits the highs of the original while making the same missteps, albeit much less of them.

If you love spectacular sci-fi visuals and practical effects, your eyes will be spoiled. Nearly ever shot is stunning to behold as the Bladerunner universe has been fleshed out in fascinating ways. I strive to keep my reviews spoiler-free and this film benefits greatly from that. This review will be full of nondescript statements recommending who will enjoy this film.

If you loved the philosophical nature of the original film and its source material, you won’t be disappointed either. These matters are addressed in creative ways while the shroud of mystery is slowly pulled back.

The best takeaways from both films are what it means to have a soul, and humanities increasing intertwine with technology. 2049 is stuffed full of moments that constantly had me pondering these questions.

Flaws

The original could be criticized for its cold disconnect and clumsy pacing, and I’d say 2049 improves greatly in both areas. The heart of the story is stronger (or at least more sympathetic).

The pacing and parts of the final act however, are where the flaws are most apparent. It’s listed at 2:45 and I started to feel the length with 25 minutes to go. While the cerebral visuals and mystery are handled to perfection, a few of the action moments are not at the same level. Fair enough as I wasn’t expecting an action movie, but I feel this current era of filmmaking might have influenced the inclusion of more traditional ‘exciting’ moments. It works far better when I was held in suspense.

Overall

Now with those criticisms out of the way, this is still one of the best cinema experiences of the year. I’m excited to see it again and watch the mystery unfold once more, watching for clues I may have missed (although the film shows many flashbacks to make sure no viewer is left behind).

This is the best possible sequel fans could have hoped for and a must-see for anyone interested in quality sci-fi. It’s brilliance shines bright enough to mask any issues. Avoid any spoilers and enjoy the show.

5/5

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