Critics Say ‘Blade Runner 2049’ Is Even Better Than the Original

The first reviews of Blade Runner 2049 have just been released, and to the surprise of fans everywhere, many critics say the new film is actually better than the original.

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film currently has a 97% approval rating, with 29 positive reviews and only one negative review. Just about every critic has praised the movie as visually stunning and ambitious science-fiction storytelling. Considering how beloved the original Blade Runner is, most didn’t really expect this new one to surpass it, but many critics have already declared 2049 to be superior.

One of those critics is Matt Singer from ScreenCrush, who boldly titles his review, “‘Blade Runner 2049’ is better than the original.” Singer praises the cinematography by Roger Deakins, the interesting storyline, and the strong performances by both Ryan Gosling ad Harrison Ford.

“Ford’s memorable performance is just one of the many ways Blade Runner 2049 surpasses the original film,” Singer writes. “Its clever and compelling storyline is another. And then of course there are Deakins’ incredible images. He remains totally faithful to the look of the original film, with its skyscrapers spewing fire and massive, ominous urban pyramids, but he and Villeneuve find ways to greatly expand its world.”

Ryan Gosling in Blade Runner 2049.

Ryan Gosling in Blade Runner 2049. | Warner Bros.

Brian Truitt from The USA Today concurs, declaring that 2049 is the best film released this year and that it’s better than the first Blade Runner.

“Ridley Scott’s 1982 classic Blade Runner popularized the cyberpunk movement (a gritty mix of neo-noir and hardcore sci-fi) back in the day, but 2049 (**** out of four; rated R; in theaters Oct. 6) perfects it,” Truitt writes. “Super-stylish and deeply human — even with androids and holograms around — the spectacular follow-up takes the detective story of the first film and turns it into a grand mythology of identity, memory, creation and revolution.”

Over at Variety, Peter Debruge says that Denis Villeneuve has created a masterpiece here that exceeds its predecessor and is one of the greatest science fiction movies ever made.

“Make no mistake: Whereas the original Blade Runner was (eventually) embraced for its unrealized potential, its sequel ranks as one of the great science-fiction films of all time,” Debruge writes.

For The Guardian, Peter Bradshaw says that the movie “simply couldn’t be any more of a triumph: a stunning enlargement and improvement.” And for The Independent, Geoffrey Macnab writes, “Like The Godfather Part II, it’s a sequel to a very celebrated film which may actually be better than the original.”

Many more reviewers who did not declare the film better than Blade Runner instead said that it’s at least as good. For Empire, Dan Jolin writes, “It’s too early to judge whether or not he’s actually superseded Scott’s sci-fi noir masterpiece; all its heady contents need to settle. But it’s not too soon to say he’s matched it.”

So far, the only downright negative review of the movie comes from Forbes, with Scott Mendelson arguing that the movie is inferior to the original because it relies on style over substance. And on Twitter, when the embargo was lifted, some were dismissive of the idea that this film is an improvement on Ridley Scott’s classic, including Joanna Robinson from Vanity Fair.

Blade Runner 2049 stars Ryan Gosling as LAPD Officer K, a new Blade Runner who tracks down Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) and uncovers a dark secret. The movie was directed by Denis Villeneuve, whose most recent film was the Oscar-nominated science fiction movie Arrival. Ridley Scott, director of the original Blade Runner, serves as producer on this sequel.

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