Disclaimer: Spoilers of now you see me (2013), Do not read this review if you have not seen it.
Now you see me 2 is the anticipated sequel to the 2013 blockbuster due to the fact this movie could bring closure in terms of the large number of missing plot-lines in the first film. While the film managed to have thrills and moments to keep the viewers buckled up, it has a lot of stirs that could have been avoided for more smoothness. Now, you will find it difficult to enjoy this film if you haven’t seen the predecessor, and those who haven’t seen it yet should delay the viewing of this film as it spoils every single surprise element that it there in the 2013 version.
After extracting his revenge from Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman) and Arthur Tressler (Michael Caine), Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) continue to work with the FBI. The four horsemen, Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg), Jack Wilder (Dave Franco), Merritt McKinney (Woody Harrelson) and Lula May (Lizzy Caplan) who replaces Henley Reeves (Isla Fisher) from the first movie, face another challenge, that is to expose a corrupt businessman Owen Chase (Ben Lamb) whose software is able to steal data from the users, helping Chase to use it when he wants. While doing so, they themselves are exposed before the public and FBI and thus, are forced to run. Amidst all this, Rhodes receives an offer from Bradley who agrees to help him rescue the four horsemen in return of his release. The horsemen on the other hand, are introduced to Walter Mabry (Daniel Radcliffe) a guy with unfinished business.
This movie has enough action sequences and thrills to keep the audience engaged, along with humor and suspense. But unlike its predecessor, the movie lacked the number of surprise elements and depth in terms of each acts. Here, the antagonists had the upper hand until the end of the movie and the story takes place in the horsemen’s and Rhodes’s POV. The biggest drawback is the replacement of Henley Reeves. Lizzy Caplan did a fine job as the illusionist Lula and she is not a typical token girl in a male-centric movie, but Fisher was more lively. As far as the plot goes, the antagonists are after the horsemen for ruining their business. Henley is shown to have quit her involvement in the magic ‘the eye’ along with her breakup with Atlas, which is far from the character we were introduced to. Henley Reeves went far and beyond along with her male counterparts and she is not the person who quits just like that. Also, does that mean that she out of the target list? She is shown to have done several clever tricks; like operating the car which helped in faking Wilder’s death in the previous film, plus she’s said and done things that pissed off Arthur Tressler, four horsemen’s sponsor who was robbed of 144 million dollars by them. Unlike Reeves, Lula May is an enthusiastic magician who wants to be part of the eye, due to her involvement with the horsemen she is daunted by Tressler’s people. So it is like, innocent or guilty, one will be intimidated only if they are part of the eye organization. So, Atlas and others could have had solace if they merely left the eye. They (filmmakers) could have reconsidered Fisher’s presence, not to mention, Penelope Cruz and Scarlett Johansson have added their cents during their pregnancy in pirates of the Caribbean on stranger tides and avengers age of Ultron respectively. It doesn’t matter if Fisher could not be involved due to her pregnancy, but her character could have come at least once to have better sense, in terms of the flow.
I was so glad to see Daniel Radcliffe in a role post Harry Potter where he had the potential to excel. His introduction scene was quite imposing, but later on he is delineated as a typical villain who wants to extract revenge and is driven by greed. Daniel’s performance reminded me of Draco Malfoy (in a way) but he was quite impressive. Michael Caine is more effective in this movie owing to his dry sense of humor and stiff looks. The one person who got to shine is Dave Franco, his character development makes him foremost and he had many good moments like the “card scene” in the vault, thus the breakout character in this movie. Woody Harrelson’s depiction of Merritt was limited to a ruse or joker who keeps making errors, seemingly risking everyone. His job as the mentalist is also done by Wilder, outshining his presence. Eisenberg has not changed, except for his hairstyle, Atlas had bit of development but then it stops abruptly by the second half. Mark Ruffalo was great as usual. We get to experience bit more of Dylan’s past and his quest, he looks subdued initially but the final act gave a ray of hope.
The absence of Isla Fisher and Louis Leterrier was indeed felt throughout the film. Leterrier’s direction which involved fast pacing and intensity was lacking here. The only surprise element we get to see is towards the end. Thanks to the promos and IMDB, Daniel Radcliffe’s involvement and his intentions were known beforehand, thus destroying the scope of suspense there. Brian Tyler’s music was there to backup the mood and entertainment. Theme music always gives the goosebumps and intensifies the action sequences. Music has its way of doing things. The cinematography/editing combination helped well during the action scenes, perfectly refining the technical sides which changed dramatically in the last 2 decades. The production design, set decoration and lighting deserve special mention for the outstanding work, making the perfect mise en scene as the show goes on. Notably, the magic shown conducted individually by the horsemen. What makes the visuals magical is noticed in the light, more there less people see, thus agreeing with Bradley’s “deviation theory”.
Movies like now you see me 2 are indeed a source of relaxation during this super hero movie culture, excess CGI and over the top action movies. Provided, it gives scope for thinking and further analysis. The second act is an enjoyable entertainer that gives a lot of explanation and excitement.
Featured image: youtube.com