Movie Review: Blade Runner 2049

Folks, it’s the movie you’ve been waiting for. It’s been hyped up by critics, it’s trading on the name of a 1980s cyberpunk masterpiece that’s been copied countless times since in film and anime, and it’s got perhaps the biggest star in Hollywood who can accurately portray a stoic replicant devoid of outward emotion — Ryan Gosling.

How is it? I mean… it’s good. It’s hard for me to make up my mind about this movie. It’s incredibly artful, interesting, full of visual novelty and delivers on recreating the unforgettable world of Blade Runner. On the other hand, it’s overly long, feels a little self-indulgent, and lacks some of the cerebral, thought provoking spark of the original.

The keyword for this movie is interesting. The imagery is interesting, Wallace (Jared Leto’s character) is interesting, the plot is interesting. Interesting carries with it a certain amount of enjoyment inherently, but it’s not viscerally enjoyable in the same way, say, a comedy is, or a romance. It’s not that cerebral, thinking about it days later kind of interesting, either. There’s a certain amount of this movie that will get you thinking on a philosophical level, but not to the same degree as the first film — perhaps because a lot of what may have been covered here about the humanity of replicants was already explored in the original.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about the movie, to me, was K’s (Ryan Gosling) relationship with an AI installed in his home. It explored the futuristic notion of machines replacing women for male companionship, set up a sort of perfect couple between two different man-made lifeforms and, toward the end twisted into a conduit for making subtle points about K’s character. Additionally, it was just plain a pleasure to watch on screen. The actress who played Joi (Ana de Arnas) was stunning, and her relationship with K was the most honest, relatable thing in the film. I really enjoyed it.