I could lie to you, but I really hated Now You See Me. NOT because of it’s set up or premise, it’s ideas or execution, it’s acting or even the tricks themselves (although many of them were far-fetched ). No I hated it for it’s horrible twist surprise ending which totally undid the point of the entire rest of the movie. It was like they had sacrificed 2 hours of film just so they could give us a twist NO ONE would see coming, unfortunately they should have known that sometimes that’s because WE DON’T WANT THAT TWIST! So with my pitchfork in hand, freshly sharpened, I eagerly awaited to see just what Jessie Eisenberg and his crew had left up their sleeves…
It truly hurts me to admit this but Now You See Me 2 is a great film. I know, trust me, I wanted to hate it, I wanted to tear it to absolute shreds. I wanted to take it to task of the pure stupidity of the idea that a sequel could be a good idea, but here’s the thing, Now You See Me 2 is it’s own film. As the movie opens we are treated to a number of optical illusions and a short summary of the previous instalment. But after that, for the most part, Now You See Me 2 kind of leaves number one alone.
Now You See Me 2 stands on it’s own two feet and while not forgetting the original, it still very much feels like its own movie. While the first film had the Horseman always one step ahead of everyone, this places them very much of the back foot, with them being played and manipulated by forces beyond their control or understanding.
About half way through the film you realize that this if the film the first one wanted to be. In the way that Now you See Me 2 is a heist film that uses magic to its advantage. There is something about magic that is enchanting to us as a species, even now with all our technology and modern lives one of the greatest spectacles of all is a man successfully predicating a card that we have just chosen at random. It’s this sort of simplicity that Now You See Me 2 works off of. Jon M. Chu knows we are here to see the magic and cleverly uses it sparingly.
Jon M. Chu is used to physical structures to his movie, he directed Justin Bebier’s documentary and the first set of the Step Up films. Jon M. Chu knows physical. That comes across in Now You See Me 2, there is something altogether more kinetic and focused about the entire affair. There seems to be an end goal and a finish line in sight with this one. As apposed to the original that just wanted to surprise us.
On that same note you can say what you want about Daniel Radcliffe but he is trying everything in his power to shake off the “Harry Potter” labeland it’s just about starting to work. In this he is a total psychopath that, somehow, surprisingly works for him, as does the edition of Lizzy Caplin who is altogether more light footed then the saddened tone of Isla Fisher. I should also say that the addition of a second Woody Harrolson was just a joy to see.
Now You See Me 2 has just enough in it to distract you from any plot holes you might find. So it turns out that when a magician says “Are you watching closely?” sometimes you should be.