Movie Review: Now You See Me 2 (2016)

Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson and Daniel Radcliffe

Directed by: Jon M. Chu

After a year in hiding The Four Horsemen make their long awaited return as they are forced to try and pull off their most ambitious heist to date.

I’m going to start off with a lot of praise for the predecessor to this movie. The first Now You See Me was such a good, thrilling watch that caught me a bit off guard and left me desperate for more. It was such a great idea for a movie and was executed immaculately and the whole cast did a tremendous job of pulling it off. So, with that being said and with the entire cast returning, with the exception of Isla Fisher, for the second instalment I was beyond excited. In her place as the female representation of The Four Horsemen stepped Lizzy Caplan who plays Lula, a big fan of The Horsemen as well as an aspiring magician.

As the movie kicks off there’s a reintroduction to each of the characters which was a nice little reminder for anybody who has forgotten or hasn’t seen the first movie. Each actor puts on a good performance again, all characters felt genuine and have you rooting for them to succeed. Woody Harrelson does double duty and plays Merritt as well as his twin brother Chase, one member of the Horsemen and one member of the crew of bad guys respectively. Both characters couldn’t be more different and I think Harrelson does a good job with both but especially with Chase, who is extremely eccentric and not quite right in the head. Lizzy Caplan does a very good job deputising for Isla Fisher, she seems to fit the group a little better than Fisher did. Caplan seems to be a lot more suited to the comedic aspect of the role and her performance comes across a lot more natural whereas Isla Fisher’s seemed a bit forced in the first movie.

Unfortunately this is where I start talking about the negatives, all of which focus around the story telling and illusions performed by The Horsemen. The phrase bigger is always better is not always accurate and in Now You See Me 2 it’s so evident. The stunts and the illusions performed by the group of magicians are so farfetched and ridiculously over the top that there’s no possibility this could ever be believable. All the tricks that are attempted are so elaborate and so dependent on 100 variables going right that it starts to become a chore to watch them unfold. At least within the first movie the tricks performed were a little more realistic and more to the point. As much as the story was an attempt to clear their name, I felt that by the end I wasn’t actually sure if their mission was accomplished and that The Horsemen were still in the same position as they were during the opening scenes, there was no definitive outcome. Another issue I had with Now You See Me 2 was the apparent romantic gesturing between Lula and Jack Wilder (Dave Franco). I personally feel that this type of movie really doesn’t benefit from having any kind of love storyline between two of the main characters, the whole thing felt a little unnecessary.

I had high hopes for this movie but was left a little disappointed. The characters were great and acted well, which given the star power is no real surprise. I just couldn’t get over the over complex plans and tricks which happened with an extraordinarily short amount of time to plan. There’s no denying that Now You See Me 2 is entertaining, it just lacked the magic of the first movie.

5/10

3 thoughts on “Movie Review: Now You See Me 2 (2016)

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