I wish someone would have used a magic trick to make this a better movie.
“Now You See Me” sets up a few different story arcs that intertwine throughout the film’s run. The first arc that the audience is introduced to is the story of the Four Horsemen. These four, including a street magician named Daniel Atlas (Eisenberg), a mentalist named Merritt McKinnney (Harrelson), an escape artist named Henley Reeves (Fisher) and a young magician named Jack Wilder (Franco).
The four meet after being summoned to the same apartment building and a year later they are putting on a big show in Las Vegas. During their performance they end up robbing a bank and there enters the next story arc, an FBI agent named Dylan (Ruffalo) and an Interpol agent named Alma (Laurent), who are on the Four Horsemen’s trail. Another arc comes into play as a man who is an expert at debunking magicians, Thaddeus (Freeman), decides to help out the FBI for his own gains.
The issues with “Now You See Me” come from how the film treats the different story arcs going on with the characters. First and foremost, the Four Horsemen. They are introduced to us at the beginning, but besides learning some fairly simple things about the characters, for example a past fling between Daniel and Henley, the movie really doesn’t let us get to know who they are.
This is a massive issue as this team that we are suppose to root for doesn’t have much depth, lack strong individual motives and in all honesty, don’t even have that great of a chemistry. It makes it difficult to root for them, not because they are arrogant through out the movie, but the film just doesn’t really give any reason to care about them.
The same can be said about Mark Ruffalo’s character Dylan, who you would like to root for, but he just keeps getting so outmatched and outwitted by the magicians in the movie that he just becomes too much of a joke. There is also his partner, the Interpol agent played by Melanie Laurent. Her character felt a bit unnecessary other than to give some exposition and be a part of a really forced romance with Dylan.
Veteran actors Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman star in the film and, as expected, deliver their dialogue fine. These guys are of course talented as we already know and it shows in the scenes they are in, however, the stuff they are given just feels so flimsy and weak that it doesn’t make much of an impact.
At the end of the film a twist takes place that is suppose to provide all the answers and make everything clear and make the audience care about the characters. Yet by this point, it just doesn’t matter. As stated before, Dylan was pretty much a joke by that point and the Four Horsemen had never really been that deep, so when everything comes to light, it just got a “meh” out of me.
Even the special effects fail to really dazzle here. Some of the magic tricks they do are interesting and informative as they explain how they are pulled off. Yet nothing left me truly in awe.
“Now You See Me” really just stumbles and trips over itself. It had some good ideas but just tries too many things and it drags the movie down. The Four Horsemen could have been really interesting maybe in their own movie, and Mark Ruffalo’s character plot all together alone could have also been its own thing.
But forcing all of that together makes it difficult to flesh everything out, and when that happens it’s hard to care for the characters and understand their motives. That makes it nearly impossible to root for the characters and really become engaged and interested in what’s going on in the film.
Add that in with acting that doesn’t feel like everyone is bringing their A game, dialogue that is average and no magic trick that makes you go “wow,” “Now You See Me” just comes off as forgettable. 2 out of 5.