Title: Now You See Me 2
Director: Jon M. Chu
Summary: The Four Horsemen resurface and are forcibly recruited by a tech genius to pull off their most impossible heist yet.
Now You See Me was probably the sleeper hit of 2013 in that it only made $350 million worldwide but it did so on a budget of only $75 million. It featured some pretty big names and was okay as far as a popcorn thriller went. It wasn’t that surprising when it got greenlit for a sequel but it was a little surprising to see that it took three years for it to come out. The cast was probably the reason for that and Isla Fisher exited the project (though who could blame her since she famously almost drowned during a stunt and was also very pregnant). The first one is a movie I have watched as background noise quite a few times so I was more or less looking forward to the sequel.
Now You See Me 2 isn’t quite as good as the first one and tipis its hand a bit too early but is still entertaining enough.
One of the things that made the first film so much fun were the characters. They were all incredibly underdeveloped but the actors were some of the best in the business so they managed to fill them with enough personality. This time the movie gives the four horsemen (returning cast Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco and newcomer Lizzy Caplan) more screentime than the previous movie but we still don’t know that much about them. That being said all of the actors are still good enough that it doesn’t really matter that much. Lula (Lizzy Caplan) is a little irritating at first, but once the movie finds something for her to do she blends in fairly well with the rest of the cast.
I’m the first one to admit that one of the things I love the most in any medium is a good team dynamic. It’s one of the reasons why I love heist movies and comic books; take a large group of people and smash them against each other to see how everyone reacts. The team dynamic is alive and well in Now You See Me 2 and it’s enough to make me forgive a lot of the problems with the movie because they all make it so interesting to watch. The magic tricks are once again inventive and interesting, but the feeling of the heist and the long con that made the first one so much fun is curiously absent.
The best part of the first movie was the way it turned the tables on the audience. The true target of the Four Horsemen was not who or what you thought it was and that made it all the more fun. The other thing that made the first movie so much fun was the dual POV. We saw the tricks from the perspective of the audience and then as someone explains the logic and the mechanics of the trick. There doesn’t seem to be as much of that as in the first one (there is really only one show where this is used) and the movie hurts for it. There is also the fact that the movie, for lack of a better metaphor, ‘tips its hand’ a bit too early. While the first one took you by surprise when the final trick was unveiled this one was much more obvious and telegraphed.
Now You See Me 2 isn’t as much fun as the first one, but as a mindless popcorn movie it more than satisfies. While everything that made the first one good, minus Isla Fisher and Melanie Laurent, it appears that this trick doesn’t work as well the second time around.