It is well documented throughout my venture on this blog that I have a passion for caper/heist movies. I could never pinpoint what draws me to these types of movies; maybe the kleptomaniac deep inside me gets a rush every time the ‘hero’ of the film gets away with the heist. In 2013, director Louis Leterrier (Clash of the Titans) spiced up the Robin Hood-esque story by adding the element of magic and magicians. Sprinkle in a secret society and you have Summit Entertainment’s box office hit Now You See Me. Well, this year we have seen the return of The Four Horsemen and the many magical ways you can steal from rich people.
The Story: 18 months after the events of the first film, the Four Horsemen, well really three out of four, are in hiding and waiting for the right time to come out of the shadows. In a few lines of dialogue we learn that Henley (Isla Fisher The Great Gatsby) has been written off (for good reasons) and now replaced with the spunky Lula (Lizzy Caplan The Night Before). So when the team is lured out into the light, they are captured by a narcissistic and presumed dead computer genius Walter Mabry (Daniel Radcliffe Swiss Army Man). Mabry strong arms the Horsemen to steal a computer chip that gives Mabry access to control any computer in the world. To defeat this new foe, the Horsemen must put aside their egos and trust in each other.
The Good: I will admit that I actually enjoyed this film. I don’t normally like sequels, but Now You See Me 2 is on par with its predecessor. I liked how there was a little bit more ‘magic’ in this film. Compared to the first film, there were a couple more magic trick scenes and they were a little more elaborate. I especially liked the scene where they are stealing this computer chip. Masked with a playing card, the Horsemen use sleight of hand and card throwing to move the chip from one another (Sorry not really a spoiler, the scene is in the trailer). I also thought that Caplan was a great addition to the cast. Caplan immediately outshines Fisher, but I think that is because Caplan’s character is a little more boisterous. This is a good thing because at times during the movie she completely outshines her male counterparts.
The Bad: After the glitz and glamour of the film has lifted, I have come to the realization that there are just a few things I could nag about this film. First is the over bloated plot. There is so much that is going on in this film that the filmmakers don’t need to overinflate. We get a little more backstory about Dylan (Mark Ruffalo The Avengers). We also are subjected to the annoyed pupil, Daniel (Jesse Eisenberg Batman v Superman) try to become the leader. Lastly we see the reemergence of an old foe, Arthur Tressler (Michael Caine The Dark Knight), which feels more forced than logical. I felt that the screenwriters and new director Jon M. Chu (G.I. Joe: Retaliation) should have kept a story about bank robbing magicians as simple as possible. We didn’t need Caine’s character to come back. He essentially Radcliffe’s father in the film, but I think we could have just dealt with Radcliffe as the film’s one and only villain. Along with that, I feel that the filmmakers should have picked one, not both, of the other subplots. You want to give a little bit more history on Dylan, then do that. However, if you want to have this pupil wanting to be the teacher plotline, stick with that. The way these filmmakers mixed all of this together ultimately becomes a little messy and at times quite distracting.
The Verdict: Despite its plot problems, I actually did like Now You See Me 2. I feel because I appreciated the first film for its unique twist on the caper films, I was able to look past a couple problems with the sequel. I will admit that this film is not going to be the film that draws in new audiences. With the complication of the films plot, you will be turned off by the franchise due to the convolution in the story. See the first film, if you enjoy that, then you will come back for this film.
Wait for Blu-Ray