Quick Hit: Another sequel that fails to meet the luster of the original in terms of acting, content, and overall story.
I thoroughly enjoyed Now You See Me. I thought the idea, though slightly derivative of other movies, was fun, and I thought that the cast really brought it together. There was enough humor (dry, my favorite) and some terrific magic scenes. Therefore, when I saw that there was a second one, I had some excitement that stirred within me. Unfortunately, when I started watching it, I was rather disappointed overall.
Where are we when Now You See Me 2 starts? A year after the events of the first, with the horseman in hiding. It’s kind of ridiculous from the start, to think that they have essentially been hiding in plain sight for a year, but I can forgive minor plot holes. Eventually, plot forces them into contact with a big shot scientist who wants an item, that they must now steal for him, otherwise he’ll do bad things. This scientist is played by Daniel Radcliffe, and most of his performance seems pretty forced. I think he’s a terrific actor in a lot of his roles since HP, but here he falters.
In fact, that is one of my two biggest critiques with this movie: the acting. No one seems to be having any fun. It almost looks like they were contractually forced to make this film. All the humor (and there is unfortunately way way too much) is forced. I mean really… Woody Harrelson’s twin? I get what they are going for, because twins pop up in magic movies more often than you would think. But… here, along with the rest of the humor being pushed in, is just *shrugs shoulders* meh. Lizzy Caplan's character (aka not Isla Fisher) is incredibly guilty of it. I don't think she did a bad job with what she was given, but the script for her is bad. Her best scene is when she is talking with Franco in the magic shop, because it allows a distinct, smart humor to breath.
That’s kind of how I thought the magic scenes went too. After being blown away with some really fun magic tricks in the first installment, here the magic scenes are completely secondary. They are quick and secondary, only serving as devices to move people from place to place. That’s terrible, because magic has so much potential to enliven, inspire, and best of all, to make people think (a lost art for some). Instead, you barely have time to figure out what the trick was before they start to explain how they did it. The best part of the first film was the breaths and the beats that were taken in between magical moments, and here, the magic is gone altogether.
The few tricks that are performed are ok. The card trick scene was pretty good, if a little too much was CGI’d. I really just wanted more.
Final note: this story is uber predictable. It’s worse than most kids movies. There is no foreshadowing as much as there is throwing the answer in your face repeatedly.
For me, I can only give this shell of a movie a “D+”.
For more on this movie, check out IMDB.
"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"