Genre: Action comedy
Length: 129 Minutes
Main Cast: Mark Ruffalo
Production Company: K/O Paper Products
Written by: Ed Soloman
Directed By: Jon M. Chu
Written by Nelson Cumming
Having seen the original, “Now You See Me 2” is exactly what I predicted it would be: An entertaining but forgettable movie that you see over a weekend and leave it all in the cinema. A good and a bad thing all at once, but mostly a disappointing thing. The demographic will like it but offers nothing new to the series that would persuade more people to see it. There were slightly more bad than good elements in this movie the more I think about it. Overall, Now You See Me 2 does not offer much of a story more so than magic spectacles. At least the magic shows were entertaining enough in of itself to not kill the movie entirely.
The Four Horsemen return for a second mind-bending adventure, elevating the limits of stage illusion to new heights and taking them around the globe. One year after outwitting the FBI and winning the public’s adulation with their Robin Hood-style magic spectacles, the illusionists resurface for a comeback performance in hopes of exposing the unethical practices of a tech magnate. The man behind their vanishing act is Walter Mabry (Daniel Radcliffe), a tech prodigy who threatens the Horsemen into pulling off their most impossible heist yet. Their only hope is to perform one last, unprecedented stunt to clear their names and reveal the mastermind behind it all
I have two major problems about Now You See Me 2 that I have recently grown tired of. The first is they constantly do all these twists and turns that it becomes an M. Night Shyamalan twist-fest. The other problem is the writers use the concept of magic to explain away the plot instead of embedding logic and reason behind it.
For the plot twist problem, I will bet anyone a million dollars that Morgan Freeman just said his lines during filming because he could not keep track on the various times he switches sides in the movie. In a way, I felt sad for him. A casual viewer will probably say “oh it is interesting that he is just tricking us this whole time” my response would be “They did those meaningless twists constantly just to get a cheap rise out of you because the writers could not think of anything else to do!” As a critic, I don’t accept things in a movie because they exist, the movie needs to give me a convincing reason to care. To put it simply: I did not bite.
Now to elaborate on the second big problem I had with the movie which was the overuse of magic as a plot device. I think the writers tried to exploit the concept of magic to cover plot holes and to relieve themselves of writers block. There are so many scenes that are leave threads hanging and by the time they are explained, they raise more questions than they answered. People were in different positions between when the act was performed and explained. The story was just too convoluted for me to care.
Now for some of the good parts in the movie. There is one amazing scene in the middle that involves the Four Horsemen sneaking a computer chip out of law enforcement. I don’t know if it was cameras or special effects (probably both) but the camera will be zoomed in on the computer chip as it has been thrown around between the Four Horsemen. It is hard to explain the action but it was a delight to see. It was a great act of espionage which was uniquely done. It was so good that I broke the cinema code of conduct and said “this is great” out loud. It was a memorable and quirky scene.
Another good touch was the addition of Daniel Radcliffe and Lizzy Caplin. They sounded witty enough for the parts they have to play and Radcliffe was a good decision for this magic-themed movie (For anyone who as lived under a rock in Mars Daniel Radcliffe was the titular character in the Harry Potter franchise). He is bad a living off- the-grid though as Radcliffe’s character resides in one of the most lavish places in Macau, the Las Vegas of Indonesia. But that is the writers fault, not Daniel’s. On a side note, I felt sorry for Daniel because, in the movie Grimsby, his persona got AIDS in the weirdest way possible.
But overall the main problem is with Now You See Me 2 is that the plot twists and the elaborate tricks are things you expect instead of being a surprise. It is like a street magician performing a basic card trick and knowing exactly what twists and turns they do. Once you see the palming, the stealing, the simulations the ditching, the loading and the misdirections, the illusion is gone. When I initially saw the movie, I thought it was a good movie, but as I wrote, I was wondering what I was defending. There were lots of entertaining stuff that did not hold a lot of value. This made the movie bad, but there was enough to not make the movie awful *3/4