One year after the implementation of its spectacular and plentiful far-fetched plan, the magician Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg), Merrit McKinney (Woody Harrelson) and Jack Wilder (Dave Franco), aka the “4 Horsemen”, continue to run away from the law, while “the eye” tells them to wait for further instructions from a secret network of stage magicians and illusionists. The fourth in the league of modern Robin Hoods, Henley Reeves (Isla Fisher), has left the team and is replaced by the over enthusiastic champion of illusion Lula (Lizzy Caplan). Meanwhile their ally Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) tries to maintain his cover as an FBI agent and dissuade the authorities from the track of the Horsemen, while planning their next appearance. In this they are to uncover the machinations of a corrupt businessman (Ben Lamb) during the presentation of his new technology. After a good start, however, everything goes down horribly wrong and suddenly the great swindlers are even tricked. Rhodes’ Double Life flies open and the four horsemen are found in Macau in the clutches of the presumed dead Hi-tech billionaire Walter Mabry (Daniel Radcliffe). To stay alive, the four use their skills to steal a computer chip of Mabrys former business partner from a high-security facility.
Meanwhile Rhodes has to ally with his rival Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman), who he brought behind prison bars in the latest movie, to track the Horsemen, but of course Bradley also follows as well his own plans. At last, insurance magnate Arthur Tresslein (Michael Caine), who was badly bitten by the 4 Horsemen in the last movie, holds some powerful threads and works in the background and has only revenge in his mind.
Now You See Me, which ran in our cinemas three years ago, can best be described as Ocean’s Eleven (or, more precisely, Ocean’s Four) with magic tricks and has quenched the thirst of all those moviegoers who vainly long waited for the return of George Clooney and his crew. As Steven Soderbergh trilogy, also Louis Leterriers film lived of his renowned ensemble, the chemistry of the actors and the sophisticated methods by which the protagonists alike led the audience and their unsympathetic, rich adversaries led up the garden path. The pace of the movie was kept so fast that it takes most viewers until after the movie to understand how completely implausible and logic free this all just seems. The film itself was basically nothing more than a magic show: a large, glittering, gimmicky innovative spectacle and much distraction, but in fact it just hot air. but at the point it did not matter because you got exactly what you paid for – Two hours of fun and amazement.
Now You See Me 2 is basically nothing else, just constructed a little more hair-raising, smug, international and so intense on twists and turns that the surprise effect wears out on its sustainability. The first big quite hard to believe Twist comes relatively early in the movie (the trailer does not show it, therefore I will not be a spoiling here neither) and if you have this once digested, then you will probably be able to accept the rest. How much of the movie then works for one, depends here on the extent to which viewers are pre warned by the first part and are willing to engage in this at times stupid action. The skills presented in the film correspond as much with the reality of the stage magic shows as the James Bond series reflects the everyday life of intelligence work. Once you are able to accept that, then you can adjust to a worthy successor to one of the most entertaining films of recent years.
J. Daniel Atlas: We are going out with a show people will never forget.
Fans of the original can look forward to a see again with most actors of the first film, with the exception of Isla Fisher, but she was anyway the most colorless member of the Horsemen in the original. Talkalot Lizzy Caplan ( “Masters of Sex”) turns out in this regard as a very welcome addition. Only the somewhat hastily hinted romance between her and Dave Francos figure is really unnecessary. The most fun time I got with Woody Harrelson, who proves once again as one of the most diverse actors of his generation, and Daniel Radcliffe in a role that could be a long audition for a later career of megalomaniac villains. Jesse Eisenberg (whose hair is not quite grown to Batman v Superman) plays the arrogant ass again so convincing that one must now ask whether he does not just every time present himself. Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine act as routinely as you would expect from these two veteran actors and even if they could play these roles in their sleep , you would always like what you see. All have a lot fun in their roles and are aware at all times of the ludicrous plot . Only Mark Ruffalo as Dylan must continue to deal with the childhood trauma to his late father, which seemed somehow really fake and needless. Had Ocean’s Eleven benefited if George Clooney would have cherished additional revenge against Andy Garcia’s casino owners because of his father? Hardly likely.
Even the half-hearted attempt of the film to speak out against the global monitoring and data theft, is sinking rapidly in the spectacle around it, and that’s a good thing. What the MacGuffin, which everybody here is behind, can actually do is largely irrelevant to the story. As it is, stolen however is a key sequence and one of the highlights of the film. At the latest in this scene, in which a game card is passed around in a hermetically sealed space in creative ways between the four protagonists, without the present security guards getting wind of it, takes away any logic or the appearance of realism and is devoted only and alone with the aim to impress the audience as much as possible and to keep them happy, with what it largely succeeds. Only some obvious computer generated effects that are used int he scene spoil the fun a bit.
In this way it takes from one trick, deception or stunt to the next, to a grand finale that should surprise again, but the captive audience can see this one coming far in advance. It’s fun anyway, which is due to the cast, but also to the quick directing of the movie. Jon M. Chu took over the sequel from previous director Louis Leterrier, but the change had little clear impact on the film, who continues faithfully the line of his predecessor. To its advantage Chu has incorporated only his experience with spectacular choreographies from the second and third Step Up film into the movie. That parts of the film played in China and that with Jay Chou ( known as Seth Rogen’s sidekick Kato in The Green Hornet) also participates a star of Chinese cinema, is an obvious concession of Hollywood due to the fact that the Chinese market is a very important role to the success of the movies nowadays. But despite this reasonable assumption the location change benefits Now You See Me 2 , which still leads in the end to London. However, the film would have done something good spending more time in the editing room, because on 129 minutes running time, it can not always keep the same high pace, so that in contrast to Part 1 the audience often is given an opportunity during the film to think about how unrealistic this movie actually is.
When the showdown of good and evil is over, the film draws yet again the carpet away under the feet. “We still have about six million questions,” says a character at the end of the film and speaks the audience smoothly from the soul. The writers are not interested in (or simply unable) to answer this, because ultimately the possibility of further continuation will be kept open.
Now You See Me 2 is longer, more effect wealthy, better constructed and more unbelievable (no mean feat!) than its predecessor, but almost just as entertaining, what he owes to his great cast and its unwavering efforts to make the audience stunned.
Acme Blog Movie Rating: