Blade Runner: 2049 is like Star Wars: The Force Awakens in the sense that it acts as both a sequel and a reboot of a beloved, Harrison Ford sci-fi epic (although Star Wars is *slightly* more popular than Blade Runner). In addition, both are conjured up by very talented sci-fi filmmakers. So, does 2049 do as good a job as The Force Awakens did?
To put it lightly, yes. I’d like to say it does a better job than The Force Awakens, but they’re such different entities that it just feels wrong to compare.
That’s not to say that it’s perfect. There are a few flaws in this film: a couple instances of shoddy directing; over-reliance on visual effects; and it’s so, so long. However, apart from the length, which is an overarching issue, the aforementioned flaws are few and far between and do little to take away from the overall experience.
Ryan Gosling stars as Officer K, an LAPD officer in the Blade Runner division. After unearthing a potentially deadly secret, K searches for answers in a journey that could plunge what’s left of society into chaos (the story is actually way more complicated than that, but I want you to be surprised). Gosling can add yet another excellent performance onto his filmography, for his performance as K ranks among the very best of the year.
Playing opposite Gosling is Hollywood legend Harrison Ford, reprising his role as Officer Deckard from the original. In recent years, Ford has occasionally phoned it in (*cough* Kingdom of the Crystal Skull *cough*), but thankfully none of that is present here. In other words, Ford yet again does an excellent job reprising an iconic role of his, a streak I hope he’ll continue in the upcoming Indiana Jones 5. The other actors in this film, such as Jared Leto and Robin Wright, also do great jobs even if they’re slightly underutilized.
However, despite its greatness, Blade Runner: 2049 is not for everyone. If you want a complex, layered science fiction film, I would certainly recommend this. However, if a 163-minute epic that demands you pay attention for every one of its 9,780 seconds is not what you are looking for in a science fiction film, then maybe skip this one.