Now You See Me 2

                by Bobby Blakey

After the success of 2013s Now You See Me t comes as little surprise that although unnecessary that they would get the gang back together for another round of magic and crime. The aptly titled Now You See Me 2 brings back the original cast including Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman along with newcomers Lizzy Caplan, Daniel Radcliffe, and Jay Chou with director John M. Chu leading the charge this time around. Could this movie score another big trick or will it be a trick that is easy to figure out and not work witnessing?

Now You See Me 2 follows The Four Horsemen who resurface for a comeback performance in hopes of exposing the unethical practices of a tech magnate one year after outwitting the FBI and winning the public's adulation with their Robin Hood-style magic spectacles,. The man behind their vanishing act is none other than Walter Mabry, a tech prodigy who threatens the Horsemen into pulling off their most impossible heist yet. Their only hope is to perform one last unprecedented stunt to clear their names and reveal the mastermind behind it all. Let’s just start out with saying that there was nothing about the first movie that needed a sequel despite being entertaining. They have used this film to attempt to create a franchise that after seeing this one could open up a lot more fun. The first film is one of those that offered an interesting story, great cast and unique twists to make for an entertaining finished product, but one that you likely either liked or did not. This latest entry offers up much of the same in an attempt to put it on a bigger stage.

With any sequel they tend to throw more money at it in hopes to make it bigger and better, but often times this is what can hurt it. The cast are all in great form once again with the exception of the missing Isla Fisher, whose characters absence is explained away in one line. It works fine and keeps the door open to bring her back should they make for films if they chose too. Lizzy Caplan steps in effectively as the new horseman and adds her usual energy to the team and offers up some fun moments. The rest of the cast step right back in place, with Ruffalo getting to mix things up a bit more with a different personality now that his true nature has been revealed. Radcliffe steps in as a decent but often times average villain of sorts with Freeman and Caine really just smaller parts. The story takes the team into international territories likely to make the story feel bigger and while it does work it sometimes just felt like they were trying too hard. They have a great premise so need to just let it happen and let this great cast shine.

Of course there are the usual fun uses of illusion and an expansion on the mysterious “Eye” story from the first film, but it is here where some of it waivers. The tricks are fun to watch, but they seemed to rely on a lot more CGI this time around that just made it feel less genuine than the first. Make no mistake it is still a lot of fun to watch the clever directions they take despite a lot of it being predictable, it just felt like they were trying to go so big that it stopped being believable. Thankfully they raise the curtain to explain away some of the tricks even when they don’t need to be so you are reminded that they are just tricks and not trying to imply anything else.

In the end this was a sequel that wasn’t needed, but fans of the first film will likely still enjoy this one quite a bit. If you hated the first one then you will likely hate this one as well because it is really just continuing elements of the same story. The ending implies a bigger world that they want to explore and the fun of them and what each of them do would be fun to explore as long as they work to take the story in new directions for future entries should this latest entry be successful enough.

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