Now You See Me 2 (2016): The Second Act

Posted: June 13, 2016 in Action, Comedy, Thriller
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Having gone into hiding after their big heist of Arthur Tressler, the Four Horsemen are itching to get back into the spotlight. Daniel Atlas had been getting particularly edgy about following Dylan Rhodes and his plan to follow The Eye. When Octa announces that they are releasing a new tech program that threatens people’s privacy, the Horsemen jump to action to expose the tech giant. The trick is on them, as they are interrupted during the middle of their show and captured at the command of Walter Mabry, an incredibly wealthy businessman in hiding. He forces the team to steal a high-tech computer chip for him, while Dylan tries to track his Horsemen down.

New Horseman: With Isla Fisher not returning for the sequel, the executives cast Lizzy Caplan as the new member of the team, Lula. While some of the same tropes were used with her style of magic and source of eye candy for the big screen, her character was given a better sense of character. Isla was not much of a counter to anyone on the team in the first film. She just was there. Lizzy was imbedded into the comedy and served as a counter to Jesse Eisenberg and interest for Dave Franco. Her actual use of magic was a little more subdued than her teammates, but that leads into the next element.

Slight of Hand…Slightly: While the tricks are somewhat bigger in the second film compared to the first one, there is also a lot of telegraphing as the consistent message is about elements like 3-card monty and slight of hand. This not only applies to the tricks but also the character connections and big reveals at the end of the long game. The big names are back and the introduction of more backstory for Dylan Rhodes meant there would be a rounding out of a backstory to explain why and how Dylan got involved with the Horsemen. Too bad it was not nearly as complicated as it appeared.

Now Here’s the Reveal: One of the things that this sequel does that the original did not is reveal how much of the magic is performed. The unfortunate side effect was that it diminished the impressiveness of the tricks. Particularly toward the end, the whole final act was a series of tricks that included a clear set of explanations for how they pulled almost all of them off, but some smaller tricks in the middle of the action seem to simply be movie magic rather than real magical illusions.

Final Verdict: For all of the things one could criticize about this film, it is entertaining to watch how the characters are tricked into a trap and have to trick their way out. It may be easy to decipher how they get into and out of their messes, but the film does have at least a few small tricks up its sleeves.

Dan’s Rating: 2.5/5

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