Checked out Now You See Me 2, the sequel to the dueling magicians flick from a few years ago starring Woody Harrelson, Mark Ruffalo, Jesse Eisenberg, Dave Franco, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman and Isla Fisher. This new movie swaps out Isla Fisher for Lizzy Caplan from 10 Cloverfield Lane but is otherwise very similar to the original. Which is mostly for the worse since they didn’t fix anything that was broken in the original formula.
Now You See Me 2 is the continued adventures of the Robin Hood like Four Horseman magicians… a band of misfit stage magicians who rob from the rich and give to the poor. In this one, they get caught up in a plot to rob for the rich. It’s a fine twist on the story and, ultimately, the plot isn’t the problem with either movie.
The problem is that the magic on display is full of nonsense and CG. A movie about magicians should use practical magic for all its cons and scheming. That should be half the fun. But when it’s obvious the tricks are being faked and the movie uses a shortcut unbelievably silly version of hypnotism to magic its way out of its plot holes, that’s a real problem. This sequel makes the exact same mistakes of the original.
And, on top of that, it assumes you remember the full plot of the first movie as well. I guess this is more my fault but I saw the first flick once, it was fine, but I have never desired to see it again. So I came into the sequel with the basics but this movie really wants you to remember everything. Which I didn’t and perhaps that was irrational optimism on the film maker’s part to think their original was that memorable.
Otherwise, the movie ranges from kind of boring to ok with only one or two really fun heist/con-man moments. One involving old fashioned sleight-of-hand to hide a stolen computer chip while the team is being searched by guards is a lot of fun… until it goes on too long and becomes unbelievable.
So, yeah, no particular need to rush out to see this unasked for sequel. If you do, I’d recommend rewatching the original film to avoid the confusion I went through trying to remember all the relationships between the good and bad guys.