Now You See Me was a fresh and organic tale about four magicians as they go about performing and robbing major players. They would then distribute the same wealth among the people. Now You See Me 2 uses the same techniques and acts that made its predecessor one of the most entertaining films of the year. It has the tricks, the charm, the comedy and all the men who brought their A game to the table. But there is just one little problem with this film. It has lost its novelty. The methods incorporated to thrill, the tricks, the magic and above all, the performances feel very redundant. By that, I don’t mean that this is a bad film. But it is nowhere near as good as its predecessor.
The Horsemen are in hiding waiting for their next mission. As they grow impatient, Atlas tries to contact “The Eye”. Dylan introduces a new team member, Lula and also gives them a new target. While unmasking a computer conglomerate called OCTA, that is putting the privacy of the citizen on the open market, the Horsemen are exposed themselves as their covers are blown. Even Dylan is exposed in front of the FBI who are now vying for his arrest. The Four Horsemen are then kidnapped by a mysterious computer genius, Walter Mabry who wants them to steal a device that has the ability to control any system in the world anywhere. Will the righteous Horsemen submit to a tyrannical businessman? What happens of Dylan? Will they be able to get the better of Mabry? These are some of the questions that drives the narrative of the film.
This film tries every trick in the book to be mysterious and fresh and different from its predecessor but ends up being exactly like its predecessor. The first film had a truckload of magic tricks that were elaborate and explained properly to ensure that they made sense. Here the tricks are rushed and more emphasis is paid to sequences that should have been cut short. I sort of liked the towering persona of the horsemen in the first film where they wouldn’t put a single wrong step forward. Here however they are shown vulnerable which may be a good thing sometimes. Unfortunately, here it just takes away the gusto from the characters. There are spates of boredom that sets in and in a film like this that is just unpardonable. The difference in direction shows as the biggest problem with this film is the manner in which it is directed.
The performances are consistent but I felt that most of the actors were sleepwalking through their roles. Jesse Eisenberg and Mark Ruffalo had the meatiest of roles and they don’t disappoint you but the sense of urgency from the first film was completely missing. There was a comfort in their act and it felt that they knew what was about to happen and that really took away a lot from their characters. They are never really threatened. There had to be a sense of tension for the comedy and drama to work. Woody Harrelson was ok but to have two times of him in a film was asking for overdose. The character of Chase was unnecessary and he really gets on your nerves. Lizzy Caplan is an able replacement and she oozes charm and confidence. Dave Franco sleepwalks through his role. He is just not important enough to make an impact. Daniel Radcliffe as the evil Walter Mabry is fresh and exciting. However, his character is very limited and that leaves little room for him to make an impact. Michele Caine is passable. This is far from his worst. Morgan Freeman’s character goes through a lot of change here which I believe will be another make or break thing for the fans of the franchise.
Now You See Me 2 is extremely fast paced. Through its speed, it tries to camouflage some of its inherent deficiencies like logic, reason and above all feasibilities of different tricks that the protagonists perform. While the first film was very believable and relatable, the magic here feels more like CGI which does play a spoilt sport. The film needed more coherence in the writing department, better magic tricks, more organic performance and a lot more fun to be as good as its predecessor. I know it’s not a good thing to compare but when a film is called Now You See Me 2, the comparisons are inevitable. The fact that the expectations are high from this film will only make the matter worse for it.
Rating : 2/5 (2 out of 5 Stars)