T2 Trainspotting

Danny Boyle's Trainspotting, released in 1996, was a hugely successful tale of youth, drugs and poverty that featured four no-hopers struggling to keep a grip on reality. Trainspotting 2 sees the same four characters reunited after 20 years, with the realization that little has changed. The original's ending, though iconic, left a number of questions unanswered, justifying the creation of this wild, joyous sequel. 

Adapted from Irvine Welsh's book series, Trainspotting 2 will feel somewhat like familiar ground for fans of the original. Spud (Ewen Bremner), Begbie (Robert Carlyle) and Sick Boy (Jonny Lee Miller) are all re-introduced in typical fashion, still involved in drugs and crime like the last 20 years had barely happened. Renton (Ewan McGregor) is soon back with them, initially appearing as though he has matured and grown up (and the key word there is initially). The four rightly dominate the film and again deliver riotously entertaining performances, with Miller particularly excellent as the bitter, scheming Sick Boy. 

It is a film very much steeped in nostalgia, with constant call-backs to the original. Though this can occasionally detract from the focus of the sequel, at times appearing to be more of an homage than a sequel, Boyle revisits a number of iconic sequences to great effect. In particular, the well known "choose life" speech from the original is brilliantly re-imagined by McGregor's Renton, updated for the social media obsessions and reality TV addictions of today. 

T2 is in fact pretty much the exact opposite of the recent hit La La Land. While the latter embraced "the ones who dream," T2 depicts a group being forced to face the future, with their struggle to embrace reality driving away everyone around them. The soundtrack serves as the perfect embodiment of this battle, mixing the old (Queen, Underworld, The Prodigy) with the new (Wolf Alice, High Contrast, Fat White Family).

With Boyle returning to direct, the film fizzes with unpredictability. Scenes buzz with excitement, the diversity of shots providing a glorious break from the formulaic blockbuster structure. The grit of the original's drug dens and dingy flats still remains despite the flashier production values and increased budget, meaning T2 still captures the character of it's predecessor. 

Trainspotting 2 balances fan service with new material with ease, providing a nostalgic reflection of the past while staring into the uncertain void of the future. All four stars are on point and Boyle is as impressive as ever, making for a satisfying follow up to a much revered classic.