The original “Now You See Me” was an exciting venture into the realm of heist movies. Most heist movie jobs can already be viewed as magic trickery at its finest so the idea of using actual magic tricks really is a natural fit.
It’s been a year since the adventure that was the first movie and The Horsemen are back!
Well, Daniel Atlas (Jessie Eisenberg), Merritt McKinney (Woody Harrelson), and Jack Wilder (Dave Franco) are. It’s explained that Henley Reeves (Isla Fisher) grew impatient while waiting a year for a new mission that never came and decided to leave the group, so secret fifth Horseman, Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo), introduces Lula May (Lizzy Caplan) as The Horsemen’s newest member. They are then captured and forced into another caper by tech prodigy, Walter Mabry (Daniel Radcliffe). From there on, it’s a crazy ride of plot twists and ridiculousness.
I’m a real sucker for heist movies and “Now You See Me 2” just adds to the long list of them. I love when such a convoluted idea is pulled off with little to no effort by a skillful team as a baffled supporting cast (and audience) watches everything play out before them. I consider the utter impossibility of a caper to be the hallmark for a great heist movie. The crazier, the better. The first movie made you wonder how events were done until the reveal sequences further into the movie and while the sequel in the series does much to reinforce what was presented in the first film, it seems that this time around everything is explained as it happens. The pacing is quicker for it, but it really takes the mysticism out of the illusions and replaces it with a “Mission Impossible” type of feel. The action can be confusing at times as the constant shattering of mirrors and windows are a thing and there is a particular scene in where the film’s very own continuity is thrown out of one of the aforementioned shattered windows.
To say that “Now You See Me 2” has its faults is a fair observation, but that’s not to say that this outing isn’t worth seeing. It’s surprisingly fun, funny, and full of suspenseful moments. If you can turn off your brain and try not to explain everything, you are in for an entertaining two hours.
The Horsemen are easily the best part of the movie. The rest of the cast are in some pretty unremarkable roles, but Eisenberg and Ruffalo are right at home in this setting and Caplan’s energy is refreshing. Jack teaching Merritt card tricks in exchange for lessons in hypnosis results in some hilarious banter between the two.
When they announced a sequel for “Now You See Me” I had joked that they should name the sequel, “Now You Don’t.” It’s my understanding that a third installment is apparently in the works so I get why they didn’t. It’s a shame though. Anyway, using magic tricks as a way to present twists and turns in the plot is a great and flashy way to keep the audience guessing, but I feel it safe to say that it may be missing some of the “magic” it had in the first film. Literally.