Despite the pretty ridiculous plot of Now You See Me, I still enjoyed the film while I was watching it. I loved magic as a kid so seeing it done in a way that felt modern and packed with action was really fun. I went in hoping I would have the same feeling I had with the first film, but Now You See Me 2 only hints at the fun of the original and is full of the hard to believe possible plot. I give Now You See Me 2 the Decent Watch rating.
Now You See Me 2 follows in disappointing 2016 sequels.
The Four Horsemen have been in hiding waiting for Dylan (Mark Ruffalo) to give them their next assignment and Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg) is getting tired of waiting. During their return performance a tech genius, Walter Mabry (Daniel Radcliffe) forcibly recruits them to pull of their most impossible heist yet.
I think Daniel Atlas offers Eisenberg his best character in the films of his that I have seen with the exception of Columbus from Zombieland. Atlas has confidence, which is something Eisenberg doesn’t get to play very often. In fact, if Eisenberg had acted the same way he does in NYSM2 in Batman vs. Superman I think he’d have been a better Lex Luthor (not that he is entirely to blame). I really like this character in both films and his charisma during his performances wins me over the same way it does his audience of extras in the film.
Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco, and, new member of the Horsemen, Lizzy Caplan work well on screen in their respective roles. Ruffalo’s story, while extremely unlikely, is sympathetic at times and his performance is really great. He also has a pretty awesome fight sequence that follows the plots level of implausibility, but is still really cool to watch. Michael Cane and Morgan Freeman do what they do in most movies, and Daniel Radcliffe has a crazy looking thumb…yeah, I never noticed it before, but he grabs Harrelson’s face and I noticed how odd his thumb looks. He’s fine in this, but I don’t think it’s his best performance.
What I think is really missing from this film are the big illusions from the first film. In someways its good to see a sequel that grows and adapts to the change in plot. Yet, the best part of the first film were those tricks. They were spectacular and seeing how they did it, even if it was unlikely, was fun to watch. I felt like I was an insider to the world of magic. The tricks in this film are spectacular, but too few for my taste. Again, it fits the plot, but the plots already the weakest part of the franchise.
Director Jon M. Chu, who brought you Justin Beiber Never Say Never and Believe, changes the tone a bit from the first film to a more serious tone. The fun is there at moments, but because they are being forced to do the heist this time there is a sense of survival that impairs the comedy. While prepping for this life or death heist, there is a comedic montage with silly music that is cool visually, but seems out of place. Both films feature some really cool cinematography and special effects that do make the illusions seem amazing until you realize you’ll never see anything like it in real life.
If you’re a moviegoer this film has enough in it to keep you entertained. If you’re looking for a laugh out loud summer comedy, see Popstar. Interested in an intense action film, Captain America Civil War is still playing. Looking for a suspense filled thriller, not sure there is anything in theaters at the moment, but Green Room should be on VOD soon. If you’re looking for a little bit of entertainment with some good actors really committing to an unlikely plot, and you’ve seen the other films, then check out Now You See Me 2.