The Four Horsemen are in hiding, after outwitting the FBI and winning over the audiences of the world with their Robin Hood esque magician antics. The magicians return to the world with hopes of a comeback but are sucked into a heist plotted by Walter Mabry (Daniel Radcliffe). The Horsemen must use their skills and teamwork to clear their names and reveal Mabry to the world.
If you weren't amazed by the first Now You See Me back in 2013, then the sequel probably won't win you over, but if you were a fan of that original film, then this sequel incorporates just as many illogical yet entertaining set pieces and plot twists to keep existing fans satisfied. If you can accept this series for what it is; mindless action and nonsensical magic tricks, then you'll probably enjoy Now You See Me 2.
The Horsemen resurface in hopes of revealing a corrupt tech company, Octa, to the world but their plan is foiled and they end up in China where Walter Mabry, the head of Octa, plans to use them to pull off a seemingly impossible heist. Much like with the first film, Now You See Me 2 paces itself well with a number of flashy and entertaining set pieces which are far more complicated than they need to be. There's also a big reliance of CGI yet again which makes the magic seem a bit too flashy and smooth to be believable.
The cast is even better this time round, with everyone but Isla Fisher returning and with Lizzy Caplan in her place as the brand new Horse(wo)man. Caplan was a great addition to the already overqualified cast and provides most of the laughs throughout the film but sadly she gets roped into a half-assed romantic subplot. The bond between the Horsemen is even stronger this time round and the cast are obviously having a great time playing with this silly script, the characters are still woefully underdeveloped but the performances are all fine, other than Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine who seem to be mailing it in yet again. Radcliffe was also a nice addition to the cast as the antagonist, whilst he unfortunately becomes more and more unimportant to the plot as the film progresses, he was fun on screen.
The script is filled with plot conveniences, nonsensical twists and contrived resolutions, but it's all good fun. The film would have made a lot more sense had it just been a bit simpler, but the filmmakers are constantly trying to throw one over on the audience and it becomes way too bogged down with double crosses, reveals and explanations for magic. Director John M. Chu has created a completely absurd and sometimes hard to follow story but he tries his best to keep the audience entertained throughout, the standout sequence involves a card being skillfully thrown around a room between the Horsemen during the heist. There's plenty of impressively dumb set pieces to keep you distracted from the messy plot.
Now You See Me 2 is a film that starts to fall apart when you look beyond surface level, but this isn't the type of film that merits a second thought. This is a "turn off your brain" type of movie, so if you're into that, I recommend checking it out, but if not, give this one a miss. I'm giving Now You See Me 2 a 5.4/10.