REVIEW: ‘Now You See Me 2’ Is A Trick, There’s No Magic To Be Had At The Theater For This Movie

Daniel Radcliffe of the “Harry Potter” films is in a movie about magicians. Wink, wink.

The follow-up to 2013’s film “Now You See Me” once again follows the Four Horsemen, a group of magicians who now follow orders from a mysterious organization called The Eye. Not much is known about The Eye, other than that it gives out missions to the Horsemen, now with a new member, that mainly include helping the disadvantaged.

While things seem to be working with the Horsemen despite some friction in the group, the four characters are thrown into chaotic situation when they’re forced into a heist by a powerful rich tech mogul named Walter (Radcliffe). Meanwhile, the Horsemen’s partner, FBI agent Dylan (Mark Ruffalo) has to cut ties with the agency to help the main characters.

Similar to how I walked out of the first film, “Now You See Me 2” was a picture I found difficult to enjoy because of the Four Horsemen characters. Simply put, Jesse Eisenberg’s character Daniel, Woody Harrelson’s character Meritt, Dave Franco’s character Jack and the newcomer Lula played by Lizzy Caplan don’t make a compelling group.

As the movie goes on, it tries to sell that this is a tight knit team trying to overcome an obstacle, but there isn’t a feeling of real chemistry between them making their adventures less compelling. Their banter between each other is unconvincing while also being unfunny and it always seems like they’re together simply out of circumstances.

The individual characters aren’t particularly likable, either. Every minute it seems like they’re trying to one-up each other, like a ‘who’s the smartest person in the room’ scenario. Other than this, there’s not much for the cast to do than play stereotypes: Daniel is the guy that’s too serious, Merritt and Jack are the jokesters and Lula is the bubbly, over-the-top one.

The film did at least offer another story arc dealing with Dylan’s character, though, and this one was engaging for a while because of the emotion it explores. However, this was ruined by a twist that happens at the movie’s end that doesn’t make much sense.

In terms of other characters, “Now You See Me 2” doesn’t offer much either. Radcliffe certainly has fun with his performance but his antagonist isn’t all that threatening and Dylan’s superior at the FBI Natalie, played by Sanaa Lathan is forgettable.

Additionally, Harrelson doubles his performance in the movie by also playing his character’s twin brother Chase. Unfortunately, the character is written to be so dopey that he becomes insufferable soon after being introduced.

With all that said, the main focus of “Now You See Me 2” is on its heists and the tricks used to pull them off. This aspect of the movie does lead to some moderate entertainment, both through some suspenseful ‘will they make it out’ scenes and a few action sequences. These areas of the movie were fast paced, created a bit of excitement and can certainly hold one’s attention.

When the movie plunges deeper into the latter part of the second act and into the final act, though, things start to fall apart. Not only does the picture’s story regarding the antagonist become more and more contrived, the action through magic tricks start to become subverted because of how unbelievable some of the things are.

I get that a movie like this needs some suspension of disbelief, but some of the stuff pulled off here go way beyond any bounds. For example, there’s a scene where the heroes have to keep throwing a card holding a piece of technology to each other for it to go undetected by security. While cool at first, the scene goes on way too long, not only becoming repetitive, but also becoming preposterous.

“Now You See Me 2” has enough star power in its cast along with some neat entertaining scenes to possibly warrant a watch when it comes to home video. As a whole, though, it’s a largely unmemorable experience and doesn’t offer any real magic. 2 out of 5.

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Author: Matthew Liedke

My name is Matthew Liedke. I'm a reporter for the Bemidji Pioneer in Minnesota, but I also have a passion for the art of film. This passion led me to start writing about film in 2008. From 2008-2016 I wrote pieces at my own website, After the Movie Reviews. Then, from 2016-May 2018, my write-ups were featured on AreaVoices, a blog network run by Forum Communications Company. Today, I now write film reviews and other pieces here on Word Press. More about me: I'm a 2012 graduate of Minnesota State University Moorhead where I studied journalism and film. Outside of film, I enjoy sports, video games, anime and craft beers.

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