Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Now You See Me 2 review

By Nico Beland
Movie Review: B- (3 stars)
Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Lizzy Caplan, Jay Chou, Michael Caine, Daniel Radcliffe, and Morgan Freeman will make you believe in magic in Now You See Me 2

            The Four Horsemen are back with magic and surprises in the sequel to the 2013 hit heist film, Now You See Me. The first film, while nothing special is a very enjoyable movie, the cast of characters, the heists, the twists, and of course the bizarre but very imaginative magic performances, with no disappearing pencils, but I digress.
            The film was a success at the box office, so a sequel was inevitable. Here we have Now You See Me 2 with Louis Letterier (Transporter 1 and 2, The Incredible Hulk, Clash of the Titans), the director of the first film returning as an executive producer, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci (Transformers 1 and 2, Star Trek/Star Trek into Darkness, The Amazing Spider-Man 2) return as producers, and in the director’s chair is Jon M. Chu (Step Up franchise, Justin Bieber: Never Say Never, G.I. Joe: Retaliation).
            For a sequel that probably didn’t need to exist, Now You See Me 2 is just as enjoyable as the first film, granted it does hit quite a few “Been there, done that” moments and there are some scenes that could have used more magic tricks, but the flashy performances the characters do in the film are still the best parts. Returning from the first film are Jesse Eisenberg (Zombieland, The Social Network, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice) as Atlas, Woody Harrelson (Zombieland, The Messenger, The Hunger Games franchise) as The Hermitt (and also plays his evil brother, Chase McKinney), Mark Ruffalo (Zodiac, The Avengers, Spotlight) as FBI agent, Dylan Rhodes, Dave Franco (21 Jump Street, Warm Bodies, Neighbors 1 and 2) as Death, Michael Caine (The Dark Knight trilogy, Inception, Kingsman: The Secret Service) as Arthur Tressler, and of course the Man with the Voice himself, Morgan Freeman (The Shawshank Redemption, The Dark Knight trilogy, The Lego Movie) as Thaddeus Bradley.
            One year after outwitting the FBI and winning the general public over with their Robin Hood style magic spectacles, we find the Four Horsemen, Atlas (Eisenberg), Hermitt (Harrelson), Death (Franco), and their newest member, Lula May (Lizzy Caplan-Hot Tub Time Machine, 127 Hours, Masters of Sex), replacing former member, Henley Reeves (Isla Fisher’s character from the first film), resurfacing for a brand new performance in hopes of exposing a tech magnate. The man behind the Horsemen’s vanishing act is Walter Mabry (Daniel Radcliffe-Harry Potter franchise, December Boys, The Woman in Black), a tech prodigy who threatens the Horsemen into successfully pulling off their most impossible heist ever.
            Allied with FBI agent, Dylan Rhodes (Ruffalo) and magic shop equipment provider, Li (Jay Chou-Curse of the Golden Flower, The Green Hornet, Pandamen), the Horsemen’s only hope is to perform a final unprecedented stunt to clear their names and discover who the true mastermind is behind it all.
            Overall, Now You See Me 2 is a decent follow-up, I will admit it has lost some of the surprise and charm from the first film. But it still offers plenty of new takes and gripping heists to keep it afloat.
            The plot is a very standard heist movie, like the first film, but what makes both films so unique is how the heists are pulled off. The characters use a variety of creative tricks to succeed in their mission, from throwing a card that contains an important device inside of it from character to character to controlling rain and pigeons, and of course the rabbit trick.
            Of course, the cast is fantastic, Jesse Eisenberg is just as energetic and robotic as usual and this time he’s energetic and robotic with a lot more dignity than his Lex Luthor performance, Woody Harrelson gets a lot of laughs as Hermitt and Chase, Lizzy Caplan does a fine job as the new female Horseman, although there’s no replacement for Isla Fisher, I enjoyed Fisher’s performance in the first film, but at least Caplan’s performance wasn’t bad, Daniel Radcliffe is hilarious as the villain because I’m so used to seeing him play Harry Potter, seeing him act over the top but still remain charming gets a big laugh out of me.
            Does this film make up for John M. Chu’s 2015 tragedy, Jem and the Holograms? No, I liked Now You See Me 2, but it’s going to take a lot more for Jon M. Chu to be redeemed for that abomination from last year.

            If you liked the first film, you’ll probably enjoy the second, it’s a movie worth disappearing from your house to your local cinema to experience.

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