Friday, June 10, 2016

Now You See Me 2

The sequel to Now You See Me attempts to pull an Oceans Twelve as the heroes from the first film are constantly thwarted and outmaneuvered. Sadly this movie doesn't have the wit or style to pull off such a move. Taking place three years after the first film, the script makes several odd choices. While the Four Horsemen (Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco) have gone into hiding, Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) has remained with the FBI for the questionable purpose of keeping the Feds off the inactive magicians' trail. His lovely Interpol girlfriend (Mélanie Laurent) is nowhere to be seen, and the adventure he and the Horsemen get trapped in will rewrite several key pieces of the first film.

When the Horsemen do return, except for Isla Fisher who is replaced by Lizzy Caplan, to take down another greedy billionaire, the media darlings are thwarted by an adversary (Daniel Radcliffe) who separates them from their leader and puts them to work in Macau to steal a revolutionary microchip. After an awkward set-up that includes Harrelson in a dual role, the movie begins to pick up a little steam in Macau as the Horseman get back to business stealing the chip and attempt to turn the tables on their tormentor.

What made the first film work was the fact that Daniel Atlas (Eisenberg) and his team were always three steps ahead of both their victims and the FBI. While the original movie loses steam in its final act, the sequel struggles mightily setting up its story but does end on a high note with the Horseman of old putting on a show. While Laurent and Fisher are nowhere to be seen, Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman both return to reprise their roles as the Horseman's victims from the first film.

The first-half of the film is too inconsistent and awkward to call Now You See Me 2 a good film. Harrelson doing double duty as both Merritt McKinney and his groan-worthy villainous twin brother is one of many questionable choices the movie makes along with flashbacks to the death of Dylan's father (Richard Laing) and anticlimactic reveals about The Eye (the secret organization of magicians from the first movie). Even if the sequel struggles overall, there are sequences that work quite well including the heist of the microchip and the Horseman's final act extravaganza. Fans of Now You See Me will enjoy parts of the sequel, but it lacks the magic of the original.

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