Now You See Me 2, 2016.
Directed by Jon M. Chu.
Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Dave Franco, Woody Harrelson, Lizzy Caplan, Morgan Freeman, Daniel Radcliffe and Michael Caine.
The Four Horsemen resurface and are forcibly recruited by a tech genius to pull off their most impossible heist yet.
2013’s Now You See Me was a surprisingly entertaining popcorn film with a ludicrous plot and obvious twists and turns. The sequel is no different when it comes to delivering a highly stupid and implausible script but it is a really fun film that’s easy to watch and entertaining as long as you don’t think too much about it.
This time around the Horsemen have been in hiding for a year after their dramatic getaway at the end of the last film. When they stage their big comeback it doesn’t go entirely to plan and they end up being forced to pull off a heist by the eccentric billionaire Walter Mabry (Radcliffe). What follows is a ton of entertaining set pieces and obvious double and triple crosses until we see the Horsemen come out victorious at the end. This isn’t a spoiler as with this type of film it’s obvious that the “good guys” are going to save the day, be vindicated et al.
Aside from Isla Fisher who’s been replaced with the equally entertaining Lizzy Caplan, the whole cast are back for more. Whilst Harrelson and Franco seem to have fun with their parts and get a lot more screen time than the previous film allowed; on the other hand it seems as if Ruffalo and Eisenberg are phoning it in. Radcliffe as the unhinged man child billionaire is stupid but entertaining and Morgan Freeman of course delivers on his wise old man routine.
One element that does make the film drag on a little too long is the heavy sentimentalism that runs throughout and a lot of exposition about the magical society called The Eye. Some parts are interesting – the opening sequence of the film that dramatizes the safe trick in the 1980s that started this whole thing is filmed expertly and pulls at the heartstrings – other than that the dialogue feels clunky and the acting forced.
All in all the film is well shot and the “magic tricks” are entertaining to watch. Where director Jon M. Chu struggles is in filming the action sequences. A car vs motorbike scene is filmed with shaky cam and there are so many edits that it’s hard to keep track of who’s punching who. A similar issue occurs earlier in the film when Ruffalo goes up against a group of henchmen. Whilst this is only a minor quibble it is a shame that the direction stutters here.
There is nothing new to see in Now You See Me 2. It is simply a fun way to spend a couple of hours with some entertaining characters performing magic tricks and getting one over on the big guys.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★
Helen Murdoch is a freelance writer – Follow me on Twitter