A heist mixed with tech and magic. What's not to like?
“Now You See Me” was a spellbinding, sleeper hit in the summer of 2013. The sequel attempts to replicate the magic.
It’s been a year since the Four Horsemen pulled off the miraculous, Robin Hood deed that catapulted them into celebrity status among the general public, and at the same time, made them criminals in the eyes of the law. They come out of hiding to hijack a party and expose a shady tech wizard during a technology show. The joke is on them, however, when they are trapped and blackmailed by another tech magnate, Walter Mabry (Daniel Radcliff, “Harry Potter” series).
The Four Horsemen are card-reader Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg, “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice,” "The Social Network"), hypnotist Meritt McKenney (Woody Harrelson, "The Hunger Games" series) and lock-picker Jack Wilder (Dave Franco). Escape artist Henley Reeves (Isla Fisher) left the team, replaced by Lula May (Lizzy Caplan). She raucously fits into the team of magician misfits. Other returning characters are corporate magnate Arthur Tressler (Michael Caine, “The Dark Knight” series), magician debunker Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman, “RED,” "Bruce Almighty") and FBI detective Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo, “The Avengers” series). Watch for a fifth Horseman, a familiar face, to emerge.
The Horsemen are forced to steal a chip, which can be seamlessly attached into a playing card. The chip would allow Walter to manipulate the market and infiltrate people’s privacy. The sleek sequence, where they skillfully manage to grab the gizmo from a secured facility, is captivating, involving delicate sleight of hands, extremely intricate card tricks, and elaborate collaboration among the four players.
The movie follows a formula of each Horseman individually sets the stage for the big reveal. It’s satisfying to see the cold-blooded bad guys are richly tricked, realize they have been played for fools, and are exposed to the world. The authorities, well, they're one step behind again. The overarching story ties to an elite secret society and a personal connection.
Some of the flashy and tricky acts are probable, while straining suspension of disbelief. They are explained with quick cuts of behind-the-scenes. Others, not so much; they are absolutely impossible feats that simply can’t be explicated.
If you could overlook the preposterous story, plot holes or unnecessary subplots, you’ll find “Now You See Me 2” a visually dazzling and entertaining razzle dazzle.