Anthony's Film Review
Now You See Me 2 (2016)
A sequel that still has tricks up its sleeve, delivering a solid encore performance...
Now You See Me 2 is a sequel to a movie that I like to think of as being in its own thriller subgenre, what I like to call the "magic show thriller." Of course, there are elements of crime, meaning you could look at the movie as a crime thriller that features magicians. Either way, there is no denying that the first Now You See Me movie is unique. It gives us the excitement of both crime thrillers and magic shows, often at the same time. The big question now is whether the second movie still keeps us mesmerized or instead has no more tricks to play on us.
Thankfully, the answer is that Now You See Me 2 still has the magic touch. I found myself no more or less engaged than with the first movie, which was plenty of fun. There is just as much of an interesting plot and moments of surprise in this movie as its predecessor. And if you love the magicians calling themselves the Four Horsemen, you'll be happy to know that most of them are back. I say "most" because the Isla Fisher character from the first movie does not return here and is, instead, replaced by a new female character played by Lizzy Caplan. Otherwise, the familiar cast members of Jesse Eisenberg, Dave Franco, Woody Harrelson, Mark Ruffalo, and Morgan Freeman are back, and they're just as fun to watch as before.
Speaking of the cast, there are a few new characters introduced here. I'll just mention two of them. Daniel Radcliffe of Harry Potter fame plays Walter Mabry, a man who had developed a sophisticated computer chip than could erase data and help evade cybersecurity measures, but did not get credit for it. And believe it or not, Woody Harrelson not only plays the role of magician Merritt McKinney, but also Merritt's twin brother who tends to be a rival in magic tricks.
The plot centers on the Horsemen helping Walter steal back the computer chip, while the FBI attempt to capture them for their previous criminal activities. This occurs after the Horsemen have been in hiding for a year, during which time a plan for another grand heist/magic show had been slowly developing. And even as their plan is set in motion, one character who is not an FBI agent is definitely watching them: Morgan Freeman's character Thaddeus Bradley, who is known for exposing the tricks of magicians. It's a battle between magicians and their enemies, and sometimes, certain characters are not who they seem to be.
As with the first movie, the tricks that are played on the public seen in the movie as well as the real-life audience watching the movie are quite mindboggling. For example, how is it possible to slide down a trash chute in New York and instantly end up in Macau? Or how do you explain the apparent ability to control the behavior of rainfall? Obviously, I'm not going to reveal the answers, but they are there. And you'll definitely want to sit through the movie, because the grand finale by the Horsemen is one that will surely wow everyone around the world.
A lot of times, I really wanted the Horsemen to exist in real life. The idea of doing extreme magic tricks to simultaneously impress and help people, even if the methods are illegal, is definitely not something we see everyday. And for that reason, I cannot see how a Now You See Me 3 isn't going to be made. Yes, it's hard to imagine what kind of magic trick would be even more astonishing than what's done here, but knowing that this sequel manages to live up to the first movie, anything is possible. So with that, I say, "Harry Houdini, Lance Burton, David Copperfield, eat your heart out!"
For more information about Now You See Me 2, visit the Internet Movie Database.
In addition, check out my review of Now You See Me.