Well, it’s sequel season everyone. Now You See Me 2 is the latest in a slew of average movies that have managed to spawn franchises. I don’t know if many people even remembered Now You See Me, let alone rallied for a sequel. But I guess the ends ($$$) justify the means (average movie).
It’s been awhile since the events of Now You See Me. The Four Horsemen (Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco and now, Lizzy Kaplan) are in hiding, waiting for the moment to unleash their latest magic show on the world. Meanwhile, Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) is juggling the roles of FBI agent and leader of the Four Horsemen. After their latest plan goes awry, the Horsemen find themselves in Macau at the mercy of tech-billionaire Walter Mabry (Daniel Radcliffe). To save everyone’s time I’m just going to sum it up: there are long cons, short cons and big reveals – just like last time.
I feel a bit ridiculous sitting down to complain about this movie, so let me preface this by review by saying: overall, in terms of movies these days, Now You See Me 2 has great showmanship – the tricks are cool and the movie has a good sense of humour. I would say it was as good as Now You See Me. There. Done. Now, time to complain.
This movie went on an hour too long. It only has a running time of 129 minutes and for the last 40 I was itching to leave the cinema. Now You See Me 2 is never offensively bad, it just gets so repetitive. In fact, I’m not entirely sure how I want to comment on this. On the one hand, I’m glad that this movie know why it is appealing to audiences. But on the other hand, this lack of sentiment makes for a very monotonous viewing experience – which brings me to my next point.
99% of the time Now You See Me 2 sticks to showmanship and does it well, but every now and then it tries to stretch its thoroughly two-dimensional characters. This is where it fails. I literally don’t care about any of these characters. At all. I watched the whole movie without knowing any of their names and it didn’t matter. The likability of the characters relied entirely on the natural charisma of the cast. That’s fine with me, I came here to watch magic tricks, not to see a love story. And yet, Now You See Me 2 is peppered with subplots that rely on, uh, characters…with personalities…that can be explained in more than one word.
A strange thing about Now You See Me 2 is that it’s a mediocre film that fancies itself a megahit. In the Now You See Me universe the Four Horsemen have captured the attention of the world. The movie expects real-life audiences to also be enraptured by the group. But we aren’t, and throwing a Lizzy Kaplan/Dave Franco love story at the end isn’t going to change that. In a similar vein, the film is very self-congratulatory. I’ve just watched nearly 2 hours of magic tricks, I don’t need to see a final convoluted one to understand how “smart” the movie is.
At the end of the day, Now You See Me 2 is a fun movie which can even be cool at times, but expect to get burnt out when the magic wears thin.
Now You See Me 2 (2016): 6.5/10