What Went Wrong
Almost nothing. This is a gorgeous movie, an obvious labor of love that evokes the spirit and setting of the original flawlessly.
And yet. There were some plot points that didn’t quite add up for me. Some sour notes in this otherwise perfectly bittersweet symphony of a movie.
Take Jared Leto. No, I mean take him away, please. He’s too young to be playing the character of Wallace, who, if he was saving the world in the mid–2020s, should be in his mid-forties by the time the movie starts. Leto sports a beard, true, but that doesn’t make him look any older. Instead, he looks like a kid that shaved off his dad’s beard and glued it on backwards. Threw me out of the setting every time he was on-screen.
Then there’s the rebels. They pop out of the woodwork late in the third act, and we’re supposed to believe they not only have a plan for a rebellion, but they’re about to execute it…if they can just…get…more…time. And that requires killing a human that doesn’t know anything about them? Because any knowledge Deckard may have had is about three decades out of date.
Finally, Joe’s “conversion” to the rebel cause is a little sudden. Their leader gives him at the end is just a few sentences. Too slender a reed to hang a turncoat on.
How to Fix It
Fixing Wallace’s character is easy: recast him. There’s plenty of middle-aged actors that could give the role the gravitas and menace it deserves. Jude Law. Idris Elba. Mads Mikkelsen. Pick one. (I think it’d be interesting to see the role gender-flipped, as well, though some of the commentary on man-reduces-woman-to-just-her-reproductive-function would be lost, in that case)
Fixing the rebels is harder.
The simplest way would be to just drop that plot thread altogether. It’s only given a few minutes of screen time, and it’d be just as convincing for them to be concerned for the child on its own merits, as well as worried about what Wallace will do if he masters replicant reproduction (a line like “Imagine it. An infinite number of slaves, living forever, never their own.” would fit in fine).
But I think the best way would be for the rebels to reveal to Joe that there’s not just one replicant child. During Freysa’s “join us” speech, she explains that Rachel and Deckard’s baby was just “the first of many.” She steps back, and we get that overhead shot of Replicant after Replicant standing there, all about Joe’s age. Freysa explains that once Rachel and Deckard showed it could be done, they made others, and hid them, too.
And there’s more: because they had real childhoods, the second-generation Replicants can pass the Replicant tests as human. They’re free.
When they have enough for their own off-world colony, they’ll pick some new planet and settle it themselves: a new world, where no Replicant will ever be a slave, ever again.
But that dream will be destroyed if Wallace gets his hands on that first child.
That’s the cause that Freysa and the others were willing to die for. Not one child, but many. Not some far-off rebellion, but a long-waited-for escape.