Now You See Me 2 is a magic trick of a movie. You’ve probably seen this trick before with its predecessor, but never mind that. Keep your eyes on the fast-paced plot of globe-trotting magicians on a heist. Focus on the gorgeous visuals and the snappy dialogue of this all-star cast. Be amazed at their astounding feats of magic present in the movie.
If you follow all of these commands, you will exit the theater upon the “gotcha” ending and have a great time with this caper. Heed my words as you must follow these instructions to properly enjoy the picture. Failure to do so will ruin the illusion.
Three years after the events of the first movie, the elusive Horsemen – a group of magicians involved in Robin Hood heists – reassemble to make their grand return to the public. The FBI still wants them arrested and the public can’t wait to see their next spectacle. For their big return with the addition of a new female member, their target is a tech mogul that can sell the privacy of the public. All goes according to plan with some clever tricks along the way, but their secret actions are foiled by some unseen force of tech wizardry.
After a hasty retreat and their mission compromised, they are captured by the mysterious young business man Walter Mabry (Daniel Radcliffe). Favoring science over magic (a stark contrast from his days as Harry Potter), the evil tycoon that operates under the radar commissions the Horsemen to swipe some tech for him. They’ll have to use all their expertise to break into the most highly guarded of Chinese tech firms. But once they do, there’s still the matter of if Walter will let them live after the job is complete.
Throughout Now You See Me 2, there’s the reiteration of the Horsemen being a team and how they’re the chosen ones to serve the mysterious organization of The Eye. I never had that feeling of this group being a real team. Sure, they work together and are effective in their schemes, but I never once felt the chemistry between them. This is evident from the attempts at establishing friendly jabs between this group come off rather cold. Each character seems to get their own funny lines and can’t play off one another without being bitterly insulting.
On their own, however, the cast is mostly pretty solid. Jesse Eisenberg as Danny leads on with a calculative mind where the wheels can be seen constantly turning. Woody Harrelson does his best as the soft-spoken crass-talker Merritt as he always does, but is sadly too ridiculous as his character’s twin brother with goofy hair and costumes. Dave Franco has grown slightly as the chipper apprentice Jack who is slowly becoming the master with more pluck than I expected. Daniel Radcliffe is a bit of a gamble as a wealthy tech prodigy, but he pays off well enough. And you can’t go wrong with the talents of Mark Ruffalo, Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine – three actors who never turn in a dreary performance no matter the project.
The odd duck out here is Lizzy Caplan as Lulu, the newest addition to the Horsemen and the supposed comic relief of the group. She spends most of the movie running her mouth like a faucet in an effort to eat every scene and deliver as many laughs as possible. But, wow, does a little of her go a long way. As the only female member of the Horsemen, she is also given a big platform to establish herself as the strong woman who has mastered magic, is knowledgeable about science and doesn’t need any man to help her. And she will do so with a bullhorn and zero subtlety unless it isn’t 100% clear. I would say she’s annoying, but I don’t blame her given the script she’s working with. There is no mountain for her to climb, no knowledge to impart and no change to be had. She has to eat the scenery less she becomes it.
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