Now You See Me 2
Now You See Me 2 isn't quite as clever or as fast-paced as its predecessor, losing the magic and excitement of the first film and settling on a predictable barrage of tricks and foolery that are more obvious and obnoxious this time around.
Now You See Me was a slick, funny and fast-paced breath of fresh air that took cinemas by surprise back in 2013 and now the Jon M. Chu-directed sequel lands into theaters three years later, adding Daniel Radcliffe to the already heavy cast, while swapping out Isla Fisher for Lizzy Caplan as the token female magician. Unfortunately, the magic appears to have vanished in this sequel, which spends too much of its running time on less-than-impressive magic tricks and an even worse plot that’s about as predictable and unexciting as they come.
Jon M. Chu‘s direction isn’t solely to blame either, instead blame the Hollywood standard of making a sequel for anything remotely successful. Now You See Me 2 shouldn’t exist. Not because of the lack of chemistry between its leads or the idea of furthering their race to finding out what The Eye actually is, but because the script fails to expand upon the characters and the world that they inhabit.
Now You See Me 2 is the piss-poor type of sequel that skates on by on the strength of its performances and competent director. Jesse Eisenberg, Dave Franco, Woody Harrelson, Mark Ruffalo and Lizzy Caplan lead the film with enough dynamic to keep the film feeling light and engaging on the surface and that’s about it.
The inclusion of Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine this time around feels beyond forced and almost pointless, yet they both play into the film’s grander scheme, which is nothing but a predictable and disappointing third act reveal.
Now You See Me managed to throw in a few surprises, yet keep moving along at a fast enough pace, while Now You See Me 2 slows down on several occasions to include the likes of Morgan and Caine and even Daniel Radcliffe.
Radcliffe’s role in the film is almost as pointless as Caine and Morgan’s, yet it’s also one of the film’s brighter spots. That’s because Radcliffe is playing someone different and someone that’s not afraid to go beyond the point of being a little too over-the-top.
Does it work? Not exactly. But is it fun watching him struggle? Kind of.
That’s because Radcliffe is at the very least an interesting failure in the movie, whereas the rest of the cast is simply following the film’s honestly stupid plot with the straightest of faces, aside from maybe Woody Harrelson‘s twin brother routine, which is admittedly funny, but yet another example of storytelling laziness.
Lizzy Caplan at least tries to remind us that she’s basically just the female replacement magician for Isla Fisher, but she’s also a different person with a whole new personality. It’s sort of funny and kind of sad watching her remind the team that she’s not simply a recast, yet her importance is just as sidelined as Fisher’s was.
Now You See Me 2 focuses too heavily on Mark Ruffalo‘s character. Revealing too much about his character kind of spoils the first film, so I’ll simply say that I liked him much more in the first film.
Jesse Eisenberg also manages to be even more smug and annoying in this film, which I never thought was actually possible. I generally like him and think that he has an unfortunate reputation for playing the same character, yet this film is the shining definition of that. He’s a boring asshole that thinks he’s ahead of the pack, despite being equally dumb and gullible.
Now You See Me 2 is a sequel that some might welcome, but most will wish never happened. It takes the fun characters that we watched work as a team in the original film and essentially pit them against themselves as they doubt their strength as a team and ability as solo magicians. It’s a film thats magic tricks are a bit less believable and far more CGI than you’d expect.
This is something that you’re going to want to lock in a safe and drop into a deep body of water, hoping that it never resurfaces or is heard from again.