Blade Runner 2049: Unpacking The Sequel's Ending


SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains MAJOR SPOILERS for Blade Runner 2049, in theaters now.

Clocking in at nearly 2 hours and 45 minutes, Blade Runner 2049 is a massive beast, an ambitious undertaking. The sequel is a deeply layered piece of science-fiction that looks to honor its predecessor while at the same time taking its universe into unexpected directions. Human or replicant, its main characters are flawed and damaged; the prevalent themes of identity, of life and what it means to be human run deep into every majestic scene you lay your eyes on, and while the story can appear quite complex at times, it is ultimately very simple. It's a story about love, and about life.

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Such high-concept science-fiction movies often lead to healthy discussions between casual viewers and fans alike, and Blade Runner 2049 is no different. When the dust is settled and the credits roll, you find yourself at a crossroads of sorts, wondering if you understood everything there was to understand. You'll likely be both enamored and surprised by director Denis Villeneuve's decision to end the film not with a bang, like the original Blade Runner, but with a sigh of relief -- a beautiful moment between a father and his daughter.


For a long while, 2049 is its very own entity, with a story that runs tangentially to the original's. This is very much the story of K, a replicant blade runner whose job it is to hunt his own kind. Much like Deckard was before him, K is efficient. After a routine job however, the movie quickly changes gears to turn into a detective story, much like the original movie. After unearthing a box which housed the remains of a deceased replicant, K is thrown into a mystery that spans decades and just might alter the future of humankind.

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