It's been 21 years since the original Trainspotting was first released and T2: Trainspotting certainly doesn't fail in showing the difference in time between the two films. Following the events of the first film, audiences are allowed to finally see what the implications were from Renton's actions at the end of the 1996 film. It's a film that starts strongly, re-introducing the characters we've been missing for over two decades, with the reunion also showing the reactions from four characters who haven't seen each other in years.
Despite this strong beginning to the film, it quickly becomes clear that this film doesn't carry the same iconic ideologies with the first film full of commentaries on society and Scottish identity. However, this sequel doesn't carry as heavy a plot and quickly descends into a glorified clip show of what came before with characters going as far as re-enacting what happened in the original film. There are a few fleeting messages delivered in the film with changes in technology and the rise of social media since 1996 being addressed in an infamous "Choose Life" speech delivered by Renton (Ewan McGregor), yet another throwback to the original film.
Stylistically speaking, the film is very strong in this area through Danny Boyle's genius direction. Despite the over-saturation of references to the previous Trainspotting, Boyle does manage to incorporate them through some clever graphic matches, which serves to make them marginally less hackneyed. As well as a solid performance from the film's director, the original cast of Ewan McGregor, Jonny Lee Miller, Ewan Bremner and Robert Carlyle seem to ease back into their respective roles, as if they never stopped playing them over the past two decades.
Even though the film does fail to recapture the magic of the original, strong performances from the cast and director save the film from being an utterly pointless watch with there being no new ideas thrown forward and the best way of experiencing the nostalgia of the original is by seeing the first Trainspotting itself.