For those of you who have seen the movie Now You See Me, you know that Thaddeus Bradley (played by Morgan Freeman) is a former magician who now makes a living by revealing the secrets behind other magicians' tricks. When he was a magician, he dreamed about being one of the biggest magicians and hoped to one day be part of the secret organization known as “The Eye,” but because his talents were never good enough, he now exposes magicians.
Many people can say that because he was classified as a mediocre magician he became embarrassed and jealous and now wants to expose other magicians so they don’t reach a caliber that Thaddeus could only dream of, but I believe there is a lot more to his story and that he had a different motivation to become a debunker rather than pursue his dream of being the best magician.
This film stars the Four Horsemen: J Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg), Henley Reeves (Isla Fisher), Merritt McKinney (Woody Harrelson), and Jack Wilder (Dave Franco) who are all being led by a fifth horseman who is revealed at the end of the movie. With FBI agent Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) and an interpol agent Alma Dray (Melanie Laurent), chasing these horsemen, they seek out Thaddeus for help in exposing these magicians.
I want to prove to you by using a couple scenes from this movie, that there is a lot more to Thaddeus Bradley than what is shown in this film. His reason to follow these Horseman isn’t to debunk them or help the FBI, but is to help the horsemen pursue their journey into becoming a part of the elite magicians known as “The Eye.”
The first appearance of Thaddeus Bradley was in the audience at the very first performance of the Four Horseman in Las Vegas. I don’t believe it was just by chance that he was there at the show because Thaddeus is not originally from that area, so Thaddeus had to of known who these four performers were, and what they were capable of to make him fly to Las Vegas just to attend this one act. These four horseman are not known yet, and it wasn’t advertised anywhere on what the magic trick was going to be about. (A Bank Heist). The reason why it was so important for Thaddeus to be at this show was because he knew what the show was about already and it would only make sense for the FBI to go after them for robbing a bank, so if Thaddeus Bradley is at the show, it would only be logical for the FBI to seek out Thaddeus for his help in taking down these magicians since he already had a reputation of being the best debunker.
Of course, when the FBI reached out to Thaddeus, he had no hesitation to take this case into following these magicians and exposing their tricks. However, he doesn’t expose them publicly, only to the FBI who he is with.
In the film, it was mentioned that Thaddeus makes a significant amount of profit for exposing magicians, so in this situation, some may ask the question: ”Why does he not expose the magicians?” We can say it’s because Thaddeus still loves magic, and though he is a debunker, he loves seeing the look of the FBI’s bewildered faces even more… But what if it was never Thaddeus’s intention to expose these magicians in the first place?
The next time we see Thaddeus, he is filming for his show “Magic Unmasked.” He talks about a legend that started in ancient Egypt known as “The Eye” and Thaddeus ends with “Are the horseman next in the long line of fools to believe this myth?” In this phrase we see that Thaddeus knows a lot more about these magicians than anyone else, he even knows that “The Eye” is the reason these four horseman are performing these shows.
Keep in mind, These Horseman only performed one act leading up to this point, and this is a bold statement to sound so sure that these four horsemen are in the process of being tested to become a part of The Eye. Thaddeus is so confident in himself that he even confronts the four magicians before their second show wishing them good luck following the plans of someone you never met because of “The Eye”.
When the second show ends, the four magicians benefactor, Arthur Tressler (who they betrayed in their second show), comes to Thaddeus for help in exposing these magicians for vengeance. Thaddeus says he can expose of them easily but as we find out in the film, he never really does. He just sits and watches the four horseman do their tricks and their shows and even calling their moves in fact.
Later, the magicians steal a safe of money that the FBI follows thinking they’re going to capture the magicians at the end, but it turns out the FBI were chasing a fake, and it was in fact Thaddeus at the other end almost mocking the FBI by filming the whole scene and finding it funny that the FBI got tricked by them again.
Now, how is it that Thaddeus knew the cops would follow that decoy and why was it that he was just standing there at the exact spot where that safe was going to arrive? Yes it does make Thaddeus even more suspicious, almost as if he was apart of the plan the whole time. Another clue we can get from this scene, is that debunking the magicians is not at all part of Thaddeus’s plan. Thaddeus doesn’t even attend the last performance, and that is because there was no need to. Thaddeus knew this was the finale, he knew that if he could stall the FBI and let the magicians continue their show, he was going to get the results he wanted.
However, though Thaddeus was aware of everything this entire film, the ending gives a twist even he couldn’t expect.
The movie then ends with Thaddeus being framed with all of the stolen money from the safe, and Thaddeus gets locked up behind bars. FBI agent Dylan Rhodes goes to speak with Thaddeus about the situation. Thaddeus keeps calm because he knew he was framed and could prove it. However, after explaining everything he knew to Dylan Rhodes about the four magicians and how they did every bit of their trick, it turns out Thaddeus was set up by the FBI agent and was put behind bars by him. Which is the last we see of Thaddeus in the movie, still behind bars.
We’re all familiar with the quote in this movie “The closer you look, the less you see” and for those of us who have seen the movie more than once, you pick up on different things that you didn’t catch the first time.
In this film it attempts to portray Dylan Rhodes as the antagonist to the Four Horsemen by chasing them, and attempting to expose them. When in fact, he was the Horseman's closest ally, even if the horsemen didn’t know. That was the big twist in this first film.
Watching the Trailer for Now You See Me 2, it’s more than likely for them to use this exact same ending. An ending that won’t be expected.
We see that Thaddeus makes a return in the trailer of the second film, and it appears he is to be the antagonist to the Four Horsemen in this film. However, based on everything mentioned about this first film about him, it won’t be surprising to find out if Thaddeus is actually a part of The Eye this entire time and that is why he never exposed the Four Horsemen to the public.