This post contains spoilers for the movie Sicario: Day of the Soldado, and discusses the ending of the movie in detail.
There was little about Sicario, director Denis Villeneuve's dread-soaked border drama, that indicated a sequel would be on the horizon. The Emily Blunt-starring film, which received a handful of Oscar nominations and made a little over $84 million at the box office, wasn't filled with loose ends, cliff-hangers, or unanswered questions that would send viewers begging for more as they exited the theater. It mostly just left you feeling hollowed out, flattened, and pulverized, like you were run over by a runaway tank. It was the feel-bad movie of the year -- possibly the decade. Not exactly franchise material.
But in an era when the artful combat movie Jarhead can inspire a string of presumably lucrative direct-to-DVD sequels and studios are always hungry for new IP, it's not exactly shocking that some executive would decide there's more story to tell about these characters. If Narcos, Netflix's mega-popular cartel history series, can run for multiple seasons, then why not spin the bloody chaos and stylized nihilism of Sicario into its own cinematic universe? As the cynical mercenaries, drug dealers, and government bureaucrats of the first movie know, there's always more money to be made. Clearly, a demand exists; here's the supply.
So, the awkwardly titled Sicario: Day of the Soldado arrives in theaters this weekend at a political moment when discussions about border security, immigration, and detainment have intensified in recent months. Even its admirers will admit the first Sicario wasn't exactly a politically sophisticated work of art -- what it lacked in nuance or authenticity it made up for in pure adrenaline-fueled intensity -- but Sicario: Day of the Soldado feels even blunter and dumber. In its frenzied opening, which pings between a suicide bombing at the border and another shocking act of violence in a Kansas City grocery store, the movie establishes an alarmist tone. It screams to be taken seriously.