Now You See Me 2 review
It’s one thing to produce fantasy where wizards can produce magical energy to fight or resurrect the dead with a spell, but something else when your portraying stage magicians. One major rule when making a movie about these illusionists is that no computer-generated imagery can be used what so ever. Part of the reason that translating the stories of magicians to cinema is that the awe of the tricks are from witnessing them live. Adding a camera adds a sense of cynicism that a simple white rabbit out of a top hat could have been done using editing rather then hand trickery. Ironically, much of whatever’s added in film to make things more magical suddenly takes away the wonder.
The Prestige from Christopher Nolan seems to be the best movie out there about magicians. But when most people think about cinematic illusionists, they think about the 2013 film, Now You See Me. The movie had some interesting ideas, but I found the four horsemen too perfect for their own good. They didn’t connect with me, but it did with audiences and was a hit (you have to give the movie credit for being original AND a hit). Now You See Me 2 continues the escapades of the four (in this case five) horsemen.
Set a year after the events of the first movie, the horsemen, hypnotist Merritt (played by Woody Harrelson) street magician Atlas (played by Jessie Eisenberg), card handler Jack (played by Dave Franco), and newcomer May (played by Lizzy Caplan) have been in hiding, waiting for their next move from the Eye, the magician society they were recruited into before. With their leader FBI agent Dylan (played by Mark Ruffalo), they are assigned to expose a corrupt businessman whose software can steal data from users. They hijack the launch party, but are interrupted by a unseen individual who reveals that Dylan is in on the four horsemen. The magicians escape, but are unexpectedly taken and brought to Macau.
They are brought in front of tech prodigy Walter Mabry (played by Daniel Radcliffe) who used to work with the same business that the horsemen tried to expose. They are given orders to steal the software chip from a secret facility under a casino. The heist goes well, but Mabry turns the tables on them and steels the chip back for his own benefit. Upon finding out that Mabry is the son of Arthur (played by Michael Caine), they travel to London to plan their next act to finally put an end to these villains.
I’ll say that I liked Now You See Me 2 as much as the last film…which was okay. It’s not the same thoughts though as while they fixed some problems I had before, but accidently create new ones. While the four horsemen are still too perfect as heroes, Mark Ruffalo gets some more background and becomes a surprising interesting character to follow. This film continues the heist theme, which seems like a good plan, but a lot of the story gets complicated.
A lot of that has to do with the fact the idea of steeling a computer chip has been done hundreds of times before in film, so why should I care about this one? The villains’ plans are just as predictable as it’s just take over the world. Finally, some of the magic tricks are cool and visually neat (not as much CGI this time), but it requires a major suspension of disbelief. I doubt David Copperfield and Sigfried & Roy could have come up with some of these tricks in just one day.
I’ll give this three joker cards out of five. If you liked the last movie, you’ll probably like this too. It’s too much “movie” for me to get into. What I mean by that is I wish I could be seeing these tricks live rather then watch it in a movie. Though there are some tricks, the overall treat just isn’t to my taste.