It may not be as good as the first, but Now You See Me 2 still brings the magic.
The Four Horsemen (minus Isla Fisher, plus Lizzie Caplan) are back, this time with their mentor Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo), and when a show goes awry they are forced to pull off an impossible heist for a billionaire tech genius. It’s just as implausible as the first, but it’s even more fun. Like its predecessor, Now You See Me 2 is full of elaborate illusion, card tricks, hypnotism and fight scenes laced with magic, which are mesmerising, getting the audience’s adrenaline going and making them want to see more. A brilliant card throwing scene is a highlight, and the climactic final performance is a thrilling race against time, as the Four Horsemen attempt to uncover the truth once again.
However, as it’s all just one big magic act, Now You See Me 2 does use its flashy set pieces to draw attention away from its messy plot – a magician’s distraction, if you will. The main story is really quite simple and entertaining, yet it is made overly complex with too many plot holes left unchecked and sub-plots unsolved. The mystical “Eye” organisation is no clearer now than in the first one, and a shoehorned ending felt forced, and detracted from some of the original’s tension. The story isn’t a total bust, though; the Horsemen’s conflict with Walter Mabry (Daniel Radcliffe) was interesting, with some twists and turns along the way, and Dylan Rhodes’ exploration into his father’s death – his father being Lionel Shrike, an illusionist whose failed escape trick led to his death – added some emotional depth and high stakes. And, in the end, the story serviced some fun set pieces and really entertaining characters, which made up for what the story lacked.
The chemistry between the cast also contributed to the level of fun in this movie: Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson and Dave Franco still have the magic from the first film, and Lizzie Caplan (taking over from an absent Isla Fisher) fit in effortlessly as the goofy, clever Lula. Mark Ruffalo’s Rhodes lent an emotional gravitas to the spectacle-driven film, and Daniel Radcliffe’s tense performance as the estranged tech genius Walter Mabry was pleasantly surprising, without exploiting the actor’s former magical outings.
Now You See Me 2 is, in the end, one big magic show. And as any magician will tell you, it’s all about distraction – keep the audience’s attention on the spectacle, and you’ll get away with what you don’t want them to see. Sound familiar? But, of course, that doesn’t mean that magic shows are all bad – there’s still the charismatic magicians, and the big trick at the end, that make you feel excited and entertained as you leave the show. Now You See Me 2 might be a film that plays on adrenaline and set pieces, but it was some of the most fun I’ve had at the movies all year.
And the cast! Here’s my list of the top five films starring the cast of Now You See Me 2:
- The Social Network – Jesse Eisenberg
- Mean Girls – Lizzie Caplan
- 21 Jump Street – Dave Franco
- Spotlight – Mark Ruffalo
- Zombieland – Jesse Eisenberg and Woody Harrelson