5. The Most Original Love Scene in Recent Memory
The original movie is one built upon a love story between a human (yeah, I said it) and a replicant. But it is a movie that is really cold and inhuman. It’s hard to really care about their love story on an emotional level. So kudos to this movie for managing to stay cold and clinical while making the romance between Gosling and Ana de Armas, two characters that aren’t exactly real.
Gosling is a replicant and Armas is a hologram, so their humanity is nonexistent to us. But throughout the movie we get a real sense of them and get to watch as they change. Humanity creeps in to the point where they are more human than human.
It all culminates in the most original love scene in quite some time as Mackenzie Davis plays a replicant prostitute who Armas hired so she and Gosling can have some sort of physical relation, even if it’s through a cypher. Seeing the two ladies merge and come together/apart is wild. It’s such a high concept scene and executed so perfectly that it boggles the mind at first. It’s really wild and Villeneuve kills it here.
4. The Ending
The original has one of the most famous endings in all of cinema. Tears in rain in and such. So this movie was gonna have a real uphill climb in that regard. While it may not reach the poetry and power of the original movie, it lands like a haymaker all the same.
Gosling deciding he is going to overcome what the world tells him he is and makes a truly human decision. He will sacrifice himself for a greater cause, but not the one that everyone else was setting him up for.
It’s a truly self-made sacrifice to save Deckard from Leto and allow Deckard to finally meet the daughter he had to let go all those years ago. Gosling has gone through the emotional ringer and has overcome destiny. He realized, by seeing a miracle, that replicants are truly alive. They aren’t less than. As he lays dying in the snow, he can die happy knowing that he lived. But there’s a sense of sadness, too, as he is just another tear in the rain.
There’s also the weirdness that the replicant uprising might be done, as the robot messiah is maybe lost in the woods now. Existence may very well be over for both humans and replicants. Who knows? All that we know is it is a very bittersweet ending and it feels truly like “Blade Runner”.
3. Is Deckard a Replicant? Maybe?
One of the most annoying things to come out of Scott’s insistence on recutting the movie in tandem with his misunderstanding of the movie he was telling was that “is Deckard a replicant” became an unending debate amongst nerds. There was always some ambiguity about it within the movie, but the arc of the movie lends itself to Deckard being human. But this question has dominated the conversation for decades, so this movie was going to have to tackle it if Harrison was coming back. And they don’t.
It’s kind of stunning how they don’t answer the question and lay the seeds to both outcomes to be equally worthy. Human or replicant, it doesn’t really matter here. What matters is that Deckard believes he’s human and he feels, so what’s the difference? And with regards to the replicant pregnancy issue, Rachel is a replicant for sure so there’s no need to answer Deckard’s existence. It’s a fairly brilliant way to circumvent the question people have been nagging about for decades and it plays perfectly into the ambiguity of Dick and “Blade Runner”.
2. The Noir Narrative is Much Stronger
The original movie plays with noir tropes and feels like a noir set in the future. But what’s weird about that is there is no mystery at play. Deckard isn’t looking into something he doesn’t know. He’s just looking for some replicants and there’s nothing more to it. Especially since we cut back and forth between Deckard and the replicants, there’s nothing we aren’t privy to. Deckard just stumbles ass backwards into the plot throughout.
This time out there is a mystery. Gosling is looking into something and we aren’t one step ahead of him by cutting to the mystery. Gosling is actually a good detective taking part in an investigation. And being that it’s noir, its plot takes a turn into conspiracy territory with power players taking part to further their own goals.
It’s like cyberpunk “Chinatown”. So while the movie may be close to three hours long, it doesn’t feel like it thanks to a plot that actually progresses naturally and gives enough time for character stuff to fit in. This is one area that is almost undoubtedly better than the original.
1. Pushes the Ideas and Themes of the Original Forward
The biggest challenge with sequels is to not feel like a bland copy of the original. There has to be a balancing act between old and new so it feels of a piece while feeling like a progression. “Blade Runner” does that in spades.
The look at technology and how it affects humanity. The very question of what makes us human. Can technology be counted as living if it has feelings, even if the feelings are programmed? Are we memories if memories can be false? What is life? All these questions and more have haunted the world of “Blade Runner” and it haunts this movie.
Giving it to Gosling as a replicant questioning his place in life is a great way to flip the narrative from the first one. Pushing the idea of replicants being living beings by having the potential to give birth is ingenious. The movie takes so many great queues from the original, flips them on their head and adds its own elements. It’s a great piece of work. Somehow, some way, we got a real “Blade Runner” movie and it is glorious.