SPOILERS ARE CONTAINED WITHIN THIS REVIEW!
Blade Runner 2049 is a melancholic noir that follows replicant K as he pursues knowledge of a miracle replicant birth in a sequel that thoughtfully continues the exploration of what it means to be human with what it means to live and love. The designation “K,” while short for a serial number, hearkens to The Trial, a film by Orson Welles based on a story of the same name by Kafka. In it an accused man, Joseph K, attempts to discover the crime for which he is accused and defend himself against said undefined accusation. This inkling of pursuing the unknown in the dystopian The Trial can be felt in Blade Runner 2049, as well.
Definitely worth seeing, Blade Runner 2049 is a towering example of how to make movies with a big dash of how not to make movies. I credit the makers with respecting the audience in their quest to combine art and accessibility. As it turns out, however, the opening weekend was a box office disappointment, in some part due to the R-rating, doubtlessly required for the unnecessary and weak sex scenes. What works in this film is fantastic, which makes what doesn’t work that much more inexplicable and agitating.
Blade Runner 2049 might subjectively look better, or perhaps offer more of what we all love, but it’s not better than the original, nor does it need to be. Where the original sequel fears were justified, and while Villeneuve, himself, said that the chance of success was narrow, Blade Runner 2049 has justified its existence on its own merit by being a very beautiful and worthy addition. In the meantime, before it gets edited seven times, enjoy Blade Runner 2049 for what it is: a torn masterpiece, like its predecessor.