The first Trainspotting came out over 20 years ago. It was the second feature film of director Danny Boyle and included the breakthrough role of an up-and-coming Scottish actor named Ewan McGregor. Since then, Boyle would go on to win an Oscar, McGregor would star in three Star Wars films, while Trainspotting lurked in the back of moviegoers minds, a cult classic that wasn’t necessarily in need of a sequel, but fans would be glad if they got one anyway.
Well, we got one, and it recaptures the stylish intensity and bona fide hipness that earned the love of so many moviegoers. We pick up 20 years later, where Ewan McGregor’s Mark Renton returns to Scotland, now seemingly a changed more mature man. His mates are still caught up in tacky, underhanded schemes and Begbie is fuming away in prison. But old habits die hard, as Renton, Spud, Sick Boy concoct a plan to open a brothel and rake in dough, as the threat of Begbie looms nearby. What stands clear in T2 Trainspotting is friendship, both among the characters and the actors playing them. You genuinely feel as if everyone in this film is happy to be part of the production, a high school reunion of sorts for now famous faces, wanting to recapture that old magic of lost youth.
T2 Trainspotting is a visceral experience, full of flashes, quick cuts and a invigorating soundtrack. It captures the first and serves as its own stand-alone story. In the realm of unnecessary sequels, T2 Trainspotting isn’t one of them, but it isn’t a wholly necessary one either. We’re glad to share a pint with these characters again but don’t feel the need to phone them or organize a fantasy rugby league with them after we depart. It’s a great film. The film’s lasting effect is like stumbling upon the Facebook status of an old high school chum. You’re happy to see them get engaged and give a like or a comment when you see that they’re pregnant. But you keep scrolling down, ultimately forgetting them as you continue on with your life. T2 Trainspotting won’t live on in your memory, but you’ll still have a damn good time watching it.