by Laura W
Magic and mystery. Mystery and magic. It works (or in some instances, it doesn’t). In the case of Now You See Me 2, the combination of the two works.
Well, for the most part, it does. With the additions of Lizzy Caplan and Daniel Radcliffe to the film, and the film taking place, basically, around the world, how could it possibly top its predecessor?
A year after their outwitting of the FBI and pulling off one hell of a stunt, the four horsemen are down a member (in the form of Henley) and are in hiding, awaiting further directions from The Eye, a secret society of Magicians. The three men, plus new member, Lula (an illusionist) are finally given a new task. The task ends them up in China, where they are blackmailed into stealing a computer chip by corrupt businessman Walter Mabry (Daniel Radcliffe). They accept the job, while creating and hatching a plan to expose an old enemy.
The film, overall, is ridiculous and outlandish, mixed with occasionally dull and unnecessary subplots and characters. That being said, it is because of the ridiculousness alone, Now You See Me 2 actually works and is, by far, one of the best sequels of the past 10 years. The viewer, despite some silliness, gets everything of the first and then some.
Let’s look at where the film goes wrong. Boring sublets, irrelevant characters that add nothing to the central story and a few dull moments – what else do you need? Here, have an example. A subplot dealing with Mark Ruffalo’s character, Dylan Rhodes, who got his revenge against Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman) in the last film after blaming Rhodes for his father’s death sees Bradley get the upper-hand. The only reason this subplot holds any sort of substance within the film is because of the brilliant acting of Ruffalo and Freeman. They play off each other brilliantly and it shows. Otherwise, it really had nothing to do with the central story. The time spent on this subplot could have been used to either improve the terribly written script for the villain, or used for more illusions.
We must also acknowledge the complete waste of talent that is Daniel Radcliffe. His character is unnecessary, badly written, and just cringeworthy. We’ll put it down to bad directing, with crappy dialogue, and a teensy bit of bad acting. We know there had to be some sort of villain, but it could’ve been handled so much better. There is also a further plot with Woodey Harrelson and a bad wig that is so strained that you can’t help but feel sorry for Harrelson.
With the nitpicking aside, the film, overall is worth it. One scene in particular, that deals with the Four Horsemen stealing a computer chip, is worth the money alone. If it’s available in 3D, go for it. It is that brilliant that it must be seen to be believed. The final “action” sequence, if you can call it that, needs to be witnessed on the big screen, there is simply no other way.
The magic and illusions are just as good as the first. It may have helped that famed illusionist David Copperfield acted as a consultant, so we know the things we see are legit. The general plot, without the stupidity, is good, the twists and turns as enthralling and the visuals alone worth dropping money for.
Lizzy Caplan is a brilliant addition to the cast, and it’s like she has been there right from the get go. Sadly, it’s very easy to forget Isla Fisher was in the first one, because Caplan more than holds her own. Jesse Eisenberg, Harrelson (awkward story aside) and Dave Franco are just as spectacular. The nice thing about this film is, minus Radcliffe, that no one particular cast member outshines the other. They support each other.
Now You See Me 2 is, even with its unnecessary subplots and a badly written character or two, still a spectacular magic show. It’s not too often we get a really decent sequel, but in this case, we have a gem. It obviously has left some sort of impression, as when I was walking out of the theatre, fellow audience members were still trying to figure out how they managed to pull off spectacular tricks. Go see it.
Now You See Me 2 is out on DVD & Blu-Ray now!