The referential treatment is wise - it's truly the only way a sequel like this could get away with existing.... That interrogation becomes a quicksand in which the film is repeatedly and unfortunately bogged down.
Although T2 Trainspotting has a melancholy streak, a nostalgia for a time of crazy energy and resiliency, Boyle seems desperate to prove he has lost none of his youthful giddiness and that he can go home again.
"T2" questions its own existence, proving just satisfying enough by being as unromantic as its predecessor. The first "Trainspotting" was about the horror of heroin, while "T2" argues that nostalgia is just as addictive a proposition -- and just as toxic.
The passing of two decades can take the piss out of these era-defining Nineties rebels. Still, there's a hard-won wisdom at work here, as well as an aching sense of loss. .
A wittily self-referential romp about the disillusionment of age.
It never comes up with a coherent answer for why it exists, other than to indulge in the same nostalgia that its characters find so toxic.
While "T2" might be middle-aged, it's very far from moribund, the despondent base notes shouldering a story of revenge and regret, amity and acceptance.
Anyone who loved Trainspotting needs to see T2.
There's something reassuring about how little Sick Boy, Begbie, Spud and Renton have learned about life in the past two decades.