I finally got to see T2: Trainspotting after waiting for it to come to my medium-sized city. Of course, every time I say anything about it around here, everyone says "What is Trainspotting? Never heard of it." The audience size at the theater reflected this reaction, but that is not any indication of the quality of this or these films.
Sure, making a sequel to Trainspotting is a cool idea, but it's totally unnecessary. The first film ends on a cliffhanger which is actually more of a fill in the blank sort of ending. The movie stands alone, which makes the idea of a sequel seem like a bad idea.
Until they made a sequel to Trainspotting, and it turned out to be awesome. It takes place exactly 20 years after the first movie, and it takes the idea of time and runs with it. I wrote a clickbait-title-laiden post about how "Throwbacks are for Losers", and this movie totally proves my point. In fact I thought about titling this review "T2: Trainspotting: Throwbacks are for Losers"
The first movie ends with Ewan McGreggor running away from and leaving his junkie friends to go find a life away from the dark existence he was living. He ends up being successful at this, because his reappearance after 20 years is the vehicle that takes this movie places. Each character has their own set of problems that come with age, whether it's being in prison for the last 20 years, getting divorced, or struggling to make money, time has not been kind to these guys.
In the same way that you can pick back up with an old friend after not seeing them for years, Renton and Sick Boy (Mark and Simon now), pick up where they left off, and this time they aren't getting high on heroine, but nostalgia. That's what makes this movie so great is just how much of a commentary it is on living life in the past and how regressive that can be.
You know how you look back, because life right now may not be so hot? Well, in 10 years from now, are you going to look back at this moment thinking, "Those were the good times."? The first Trainspotting has some horrible stuff in it, but they continually look back like it was the time of their lives and so much better than now. As Mark and Simon are going on and on about their youth, one character says "Where I come from, the past is a time to be forgotten, but you guys want to live in it forever. It makes no sense." (not the direct quote but close)
I wish more sequels would be this thoughtful. It was obviously made because there was a good story to tell about these characters that could enrich the first movie even further. After waiting so long to see this, I was not disappointed, probably my favorite movie this year so far.
There was a lot of parallels with this and Logan with how much it deals with aging and hard living that I appreciate both movies for. They almost go hand in hand in a weird way. That said, neither movies are for the faint of heart.