Blade Runner 2049

Blade Runner 2049 ★★★★½

"I have the lock, and he has the key."

Ryan Gosling's K wandering through the corridors of an empty casino, walking up to a dusty jukebox, plopping in a coin and having a hologram of Frank Sinatra's 1962 performance of One For my Baby at the Royal Festival Hall project itself in the glass bubble above is perhaps one of the most hyperbolic images a film has presented in years. The past being preserved in all it's black-and-white glory, standing in the midst of complete isolation. 
The technical polish you've come to expect from Villenueve, Deakins, production designer Dennis Gassner, and art director Paul Ingler is every bit as top-of-the-line as you were hoping it'd be, and then some.
Every single establishing shot strikes a nerve, every painting hanging on the wall of a house tickles you with curiosity as to what inspired the artwork, every hologram advertisement and billboard on screen hits you with this sense of wonderment that adds to the heavy lore of the Blade Runner universe. 
Gosling, Barkhad & Bautista fit into said universe as well as two pieces of an elaborate puzzle, and Ford gives his finest performance in literal years as he returns to the role of Deckard like he never left it. 
The MVP here is undoubtably Leto however. Minimal screen time or not, I hope that even the most staunch Leto-bashers are gonna be forced to give him some praise for this, as he breathes complete life into one of the most intimidating villains of recent sci-fi. Maybe I just really love his presence but whatever it is I'm sitting here days after seeing it and still thinking about him.
My thoughts on this are bouncing all around my brain right now, and I can't even begin to fathom placing this above the original landmark film. I'll need to see this at least three more times before I can determine if it truly deserves that title. 
Unfortunately, Zimmer's BWAH-filled score is the reason I feel like I'm holding back from giving this a perfect score.
That shouldn't deter you from seeing it opening night on the largest IMAX screen you can, because this is the Blade Runner sequel we have wanted for over thirty-five years. 

4.5/5

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