A better showman than David Copperfield and David Blaine combined, British director Danny Boyle makes almost every sort of entertainment except the easy, conformist ones. Whether he’s creating film, theater or spectacle, he delivers work that is mainstream and rebellious, silly and intense, but always unpredictable.

He radically revised the zombie genre in the horror hit “28 Days Later” and took the best-picture Oscar for “Slumdog Millionaire,” the first film to win the honor with an entirely nonwhite cast. He gave London’s 2012 Summer Olympics opening ceremony a thousand surprises, including Queen Elizabeth and James Bond parachuting out of a helicopter and into the stadium. (They didn’t really, but it was bloody brilliant.)

Now Boyle has raised the bar again. With “T2 Trainspotting,” he has created a sequel to the sensation that launched his career two decades ago, the bleak drug satire “Trainspotting.” The small-budget smash, released in 1996, was the most culturally significant British production since Stanley Kubrick’s “A Clockwork Orange.”

It turned four deplorable Edinburgh heroin addicts into oddly likable representatives of disaffected British youth in the early days of Oasis and Tony Blair. Again played by Ewan McGregor, Robert Carlyle, Jonny Lee Miller and Ewen Bremner, in “T2” the boys have become men, in amusing but not entirely admirable ways. They’re older but hardly any wiser, with new addictions and in even bigger trouble than before.

Revisiting those iconic characters at a different time in a different world felt like a long-delayed family reunion that needed to be prepared very carefully, Boyle said. For six months, members of the creative crew discussed how they best wanted to reflect their changing country and tell the stories in vibrant ways that weren’t radically altered, yet not a boring tourist’s trip to Nostalgia Land.

“I think it’s a film about male behavior over time,” he said. “It’s about a bunch of friends who have not seen each other for 20 years, and they are brought back together again. And the hinterland of it is a previous life, and terrible and wonderful drug addiction, and the energy of early manhood. That irresponsibility, the carelessness, the pleasure of that kind of freedom when you step out of childhood. And what’s the reckoning of that 20 years later, when it’s not available to you as easily?”

After a pause he said, “A world suffering from an apocalyptic virus is a much better elevator pitch, I realize.”

Still, there’s an enthusiastic audience eager to see Boyle’s new film. In release overseas since February, the film is a solid hit in the United Kingdom and across Europe, pulling in almost 20 percent of the international market’s box office.

“It’s not like you’re introducing it to strangers, or introducing something strange to someone. They absolutely know what you’re introducing, and they have an opinion about it,” especially longtime fans who have been waiting for “T2” to arrive. “They’ll express that opinion, as well,” he said. “They feel a kind of ownership of it.”

As does he. After having a commercial hit, there’s usually a lot of pressure to make a sequel quite quickly. But Boyle preferred to wait until the right ideas arrived, even though that took 20 years.

“I had to raise my game,” Boyle said in a phone conversation. “We had a very high threshold under which we would not consider doing it, in terms of script, our ambition for it and what we were going to do with it. Even so, it still shocks me that when you present it, people have a relationship with the movie already from the first film.” Still, he said, “You cannot be in the shadow of the original the whole time. In the conception of it, the making of it, you have to say, ‘No, we’re our own thing,’ as well.”

Waiting 20 years was “something very good for us,” Boyle said. “It gave us something to make the film about. It also meant we forgot – I did, anyway – what we’d done (in the first film). You can see it, but how we went about it kind of fades. None of us have perfect memories, and that’s helpful, actually. What you’ve got to do is be mindful of the original film, but you’ve also got to make it independent. It has to be its own thing.”

In this case, flashback visuals and soundtrack from the original appear in the present day. Boyle salutes devotees of the original’s nightmarish set pieces involving cold turkey withdrawal, the Worst Toilet in Scotland, and a dead baby crawling on the ceiling.

As for those who haven’t seen the original, “I feel a kind of fraud in a way, because it’s a major part of a director’s job to know how the movie is working. But I can’t tell you how this works for someone who hasn’t seen the first film. The actors were saying that, as well. It’s very hard to imagine what the new generation will think. Mercifully, it seems rich for them.”