Where the original Blade Runner ended with people on the run, the sequel ends with its characters stopping to a standstill. K, who longed to be special, turned out to be exactly what he had wished to be. He proved that he was just as human as anyone else, first by disobeying direct orders, then by letting himself feel love for Joi, his automated companion. It's a connection that helped him see the beauty in the world, and one that pushed him to save Deckard and allow him to reunite with his daughter, instead of killing him as he should have done.
This ending is very open-ended as to the larger world of the Blade Runner universe, but it is also a fitting conclusion for both Deckard and K. Some might argue that, at the end of the movie, K might still be alive. While that could be true, there is a certain poetry to his character accepting death on his own terms, going out while finally doing something good. Ever hated by his fellow officers for being a replicant, and equally reviled by his fellow replicants for being a blade runner, K is a character who never really had a home – save for Joi. After losing her, he did everything he could to do what was right, to do what she wanted him to. To be what she knew him to be: special. Through his emotional journey, through his sacrifice, K proved, beyond a single doubt, that one doesn't need to have a soul to be human.
Blade Runner 2049 will ultimately go down as a classic of science-fiction. Through its grand themes and dwarfing concepts about human nature, it could have easily lost itself in its own purpose. Instead, Villeneuve created a movie about hope, about truth and about sacrifice. The ending of the film isn't complicated to understand. Some might debate the final outcome, while others will take of it what they want. What they believe and what they feel. It doesn't matter that Niander Wallace is still alive somewhere. It doesn't matter that a replicant revolution is about to awaken, that war between two species is brewing. Against all odds, a father and his daughter managed to find each other. Where one movie ended with tears in the rain, this one ends with a quiet snowfall, and a smile.
Directed by Denis Villeneuve (Arrival) from a script by Hampton Fancher and Michael Green, Blade Runner 2049 stars Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Ana de Armas, Robin Wright, Jared Leto, Barkhad Abdi, Lennie James, Mackenzie Davis and Sylvia Hoeks. Executive produced by Ridley Scott, the film is in theaters now.