Clearly, Blade Runner 2049, the stylish new sequel from director Denis Villeneuve (Sicario, Arrival), arrives in theaters with the hope that it will match (or potentially surpass!) the artistic highs of the first movie -- and even create the same spirited arguments that fueled the original's cult reputation. But does it also attempt to introduce its own cryptically symbolic animal figurine and use it in the finale to create a moment of whoa-dude-level ambiguity? Of course it does.
Instead of a piece of origami of a mythical creature, the twist in Blade Runner 2049 centers around a wooden toy horse. In addition to brooding, investigating worm farms, and looking very cool in a shearling coat, Ryan Gosling's K, the protagonist of the new movie, spends much of his screen time obsessing over this little souvenir, and you might leave the theater with some questions about it. Like, seriously, what's with the damn horse? Why is it so important? What does it meaaaannnn?