calamityhey’s review published on Letterboxd:
I was sort of thrown off by the way this narrative tapers into something smaller and more grounded in intimate human pathos, but it ultimately makes sense, a lightly audacious move for a kind of unwieldy Hollywood blockbuster. Villeneuve locates what makes (or could make) this series (I guess its a series now? Duology? nvmnd) interesting, stripping down the drably grandiose philosophical musings of the original and turning the replicants into a sounding board with which we can get at questions of humanity in a sort of novel way.
My review for the original was quick and snotty, so to expand upon that - Scott's take on the source material attacks it in the most superficial of ways, essentially asking the clunky question "what if we had robots, but maybe they're human?" Villeneuve's take goes past that and gives us reason to care about the fate of the replicants. In truth this is Harrison Ford's story, but we're forced to view it through replicant ryan Gosling's eyes, witnessing his awakening to very human emotions (esteem, compassion, selflessness). In this way there is actual weight to the titular question of the source material (and I guess they can have babies now? Suppose that kinda seals the deal) and even an interesting commentary on the way a collective revolution often ends up relying on briefly propogating the same dehumanizing principles that it is combatting long term. But the interesting irony that Villeneuve concots is such that Gosling establishes his humanity by embracing his disposability.
A very natural and superior step forward.