Blade Runner 2049 ★★★½

Visually, it has as much power as the original, sometimes moreso, because Denis Villeneuve is a master visual stylist and when he works with Roger Deakins there probably isn't a more skilled director/cinematographer combo in movies today. And the score by Hans Zimmer and Benjamin Walfisch only adds to that; there were actually moments I liked the score here better than I liked Vangelis' on the original, which shocked me.

I went back and forth on the rating for this one a lot and have settled at three and a half because although I enjoyed the movie a lot, there are two major problems with it. The first one is that it has Jared Leto in it, and Jared Leto is a bad actor who makes movies worse unless it is FIGHT CLUB and he gets the shit kicked out of him while saying basically nothing at all. Luckily, Leto's role is fairly small and he is not onscreen for so long that he makes this movie deeply worse; unluckily, his role is also fairly important.

The second problem with BLADE RUNNER 2049 is that it must, for reasons obvious, be compared to the original, and here it suffers. It is flabbier, for one thing; there are two or three scenes that are simply unnecessary. (In particular, the car-crash/fight with the trash-people sequence does literally nothing for the plot and reveals nothing about any character. It is ten minutes of a movie that is at least twenty minutes too long.)

But, more than that, the ambiguity of the original is traded in for Jared Movie Ruiner Leto yelling at the audience about the moral of the movie in advance. So let me yell back in response: YES, OF COURSE THE REPLICANTS ARE SLAVES! THE REASON THE ORIGINAL MOVIE DIDN'T EMPHASIZE THIS IS BECAUSE WE ARE SOCIALIZED TO INSTINCTIVELY SYMPATHIZE WITH COP-TYPE CHARACTERS AND RIDLEY SCOTT TRUSTED THE AUDIENCE TO GRADUALLY REALIZE THAT THE SYSTEM WAS ITSELF CORRUPT, AND THIS MOVIE'S FAILURE TO TRUST ITS AUDIENCE IS ITS GREATEST FLAW!

Man, I should yell at Jared Leto more often. It's cathartic.