Now You See Me 2’s pledge is simple: to be Now You See Me all over again. It’s no mistake or misdirection – this is the same trick they did last time. That doesn’t spoil all of the fun though – the cocksure swagger and smooth sleight-of-hand which marks the magicians is effortlessly enjoyable. Just don’t expect to be spellbound.
The sequel fails to make the turn, confusing setpiece for story and charisma for care. What this tale of illusionary one-upmanship misses is illustrative penmanship; there are interesting characters, and supremely talented actors here, but they are given little development beyond the visual flare of their magic powers. Ruffalo continues to be the best part of every film he’s in, Kaplan proves a capable new recruit, and Radcliffe relishes his turn to the dark side, but each part can be described with two traits at most. Harrelson even splits his pair between his dual-role twins.
Suffice to say there is no prestige in the picture, no moment of wonder or delight. Although shot with pizzazz, the tricks are overlong and either too simple for mystery or too ludicrously complicated to make sense. Conveniently, that sentence also covers the overall story of the film, yet in the world of Now You See Me we are all meant to be obsessed with magicians – something the onscreen illusionists makes even harder to believe than in the real world.
Oh, no, no – not magic.
Fun without form and stylish without substance, NYSM2 is more of the same without taking any steps forward or backwards. You don’t need to be psychic to know that Now You Three Me is coming – even if three is the magic number, this is time to say “now you don’t”.
CAST: Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco, Lizzy Caplan
DIRECTOR: Jon M. Chu
WRITERS: Ed Solomon, Pete Chiarelli, Boaz Yakin, Edward Ricourt
SYNOPSIS: The Four Horsemen resurface and are forcibly recruited by a tech genius to pull off their most impossible heist yet.