2013’s Now You See Me brought us a new sort of cinematic experience. And Now You See Me 2 brings more of the same.
We were introduced to a bunch of seemingly normal individuals who, when combined their talents, could pull off some feats that left you hanging and asking “um…how did that just happen?”
The newest instalment, Now You See Me 2, abides by a very similar formula, but somehow goes beyond the level of impossibility which was met last time.
Long story short; if you’re going to question every little detail and nitpick on the vanishing airplanes and teleporting devices (like I did), you aren’t going to have a good time.
The film opens one year after the show-stopping events of the original movie. Our Horsemen have been in hiding and plotting out the perfect return; their previous money-grabbing, jaw-dropping behaviour resulted in admiration from the masses, but great disdain from the FBI. Having earlier been on their tail, FBI Agent Dylan Rhodes (Ruffalo) facilitates the squad in pulling off their comeback show, hoping to reveal the corruption of a large-scale tech mogul taking over the world with his new device.
Of course, things quickly turn sour; Rhodes’ insider role with the Horsemen is revealed, and somehow, almost instantly, the magicians find themselves in Macau, essentially being held hostage and controlled by Walter Mabry (Radcliffe), a rich and conniving yet insecure megalomaniac. In order to ensure his large investment is safe and that he isn’t going to lose millions, Marby requires the retrieval of a chip known as ‘the stick’, a device with the ability to de-encrypt any gadget on planet.
Succumbing to the demands of Marby, the Four Horsemen pursue ‘the stick’, once again being hunted down by the FBI, professional magic debunker Thaddeus Bradley (Freeman), as well as Arthur Tressler (Caine).
The Four Horsemen demonstrate superb showmanship and chemistry. Eisenberg was the driving force that kept the heart of the squad beating, making some very tactical and ‘business-like’ decisions. I didn’t feel like Franco added much at all, except for his good looks and dashing, cheeky grin.
Isla Fisher’s missing presence is felt early on. Her replacement, Lizzy Caplan, was over bubbly and energetic, being the obvious odd-one-out in the rather laid-back group (well, in private and not when performing). Her romance with Franco’s character was painfully annoying; I would cringe at each in-your-face reminder of their desire for one another, although it was quite often just Caplan being super clingy. Ruffalo’s character arc, reason for involvement and connection to Freeman was far too contrived and artificial.
Daniel Radcliffe’s character was too much of a whiny little daddy’s boy who believed the world was owed to him. His relationship with Caine’s character is extremely convenient, ultimately allowing for his widespread control of the corrupt underworld of Macau.
The actual retrieval of ‘the stick’ was one of the coolest and visually stunning 10-minute sequences you’ll see in the cinema in any film this weekend. Despite being far from realistic, I was on the edge of my seat and didn’t blink once. How they didn’t screw it up, I don’t know. Magic, I guess?
Now You See Me 2, like its predecessor, was kind and considerate to us non-magic folk, always exposing the secrets and methods of how the tricks were pulled off with such flair.
They almost always made me slap myself in the face and question whether I was silly for missing the hints, or if the film was being way too farfetched. But if someone can explain how Jesse Eisenberg vanished into a puddle of water, that’d be great. Please let me know. Creating Facebook is one thing, but this was on a whole different level.
The final act involves the Horsemen being captured and taken on a plane by Radcliffe and Caine. For a group that comes across like The Joker, not having any plan at all, these guys can get shit done. However, I strongly contend that everyone else in the movie were complete and utter morons for not picking up on the final illusion.
All in all, you’re not going to remember this film, but you may enjoy yourself. Every time I thought it was going to end, it didn’t and just kept on rolling. Despite all that the Four Horseman are capable of, they sure do struggle to bring back the magic of the original film.
“You will get what’s coming to you. In ways you can’t expect.”