T2 Trainspotting (2017)
Preceded by: Trainspotting (1996)
If nostalgia is a valid virtue on which to base a film – and why shouldn't it be? – then T2: Trainspotting, Danny Boyle's follow-up to his hugely successful 1996 film, has got the perfect outset. And under Boyle's masterful guidance, it has become a delightful mixture of skilfully incorporated visual and narrative flashbacks on the one side, and an assessment of the current state of affairs for what are now uneducated, largely unemployed Scottish 40-somethings on the other.
Trainspotting was stylistically groundbreaking, and in the follow-up Boyle cleverly toys with this legacy without ever trying to outdo or outshine the original. Every reference to the 1996 film is done with a level-headed sense of gratitude and respect, and as we get reacquainted with the unlikely quartet of friends that is Rent Boy, Spud, Sick Boy and Franco, we readily accept whatever alterations screenwriter John Hodge has needed to do in order to make the story viable with a "20 years later" premise.
It is true, however, that T2 never becomes as relevant as its predecessor. It also never quite reaches the same levels of pulsating, all-encompassing urgency which distinguished that film. But perhaps this is also telling for how life at 40 is compared to life at 20: You want everything you do and think to be just as meaningful as it was back then – but it just isn't.