Now You See Me 2
This summer is turning out to be one of the most unoriginal in a long time. Every movie that comes out is either a sequel or another addition to a franchise. Some of the films have been duds and others have been quite enjoyable, and we still have to see quite a few more. Now You See Me 2 falls on the dud side of the sequels with an extremely forced story that was a silly excuse to show more magic tricks and make more money.
Now You See Me 2 has the Four Horsemen of the first film in hiding after their incredible heist in the first film. Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg), Merritt McKinney (Woody Harrelson), and Jack Wilder (Dave Franco) all wait to hear from their leader Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) and what the cult they follow (The Eye) has in store for them. The fourth horseman in the first film was Isla Fischer, but due to the actress’ pregnancy Lizzy Caplan takes on woman-magician role for this film. The film essentially pits them up against this evil millionaire named Walter Marby (Daniel Radcliffe) who wants them to steal this computer chip that can decrypt any device in the world.
The problem with the film is that it seemed like the studio saw the success of the first film and demanded a sequel; but the reality was that the first film wasn’t crafted with the idea of a sequel and so the whole story seems extremely forced and made more like a roadmap to cool magic tricks, than a logical film. The screenwriters had to grapple with that, but then there was the actual script which was not only lazy, but also unambitious and with no passion whatsoever. It ticked me off that the filmmakers seemed to think that the audience were all dunderheads who couldn’t understand anything and thus the dialogue had to be literally repeated two or three times; which, for the actual audience, is redundant and insulting. I always advocate for trusting your viewers to figure things out themselves; no one likes being treated like a child, not even children.
Then there is the cast, which were really just the actors from the first film who now are just names on the poster. In their defense the script wasn’t really on their side, but even so it’s disappointing to see the likes of Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine, among others, be so cheekily relegated. The two new additions to the cast were two tremendous actors: Daniel Radcliffe and Lizzy Caplan, however only Caplan seems to know what she’s doing and manages to make her character seem like the only intriguing one in the film. Radcliffe is completely restrained, spewing evil Bond villain-like monologues, which make him seem so out of place (can anyone really imagine Harry Potter as a villain?). And then there was Woody Harrelson. Harrelson was fine as Merritt, but the problem was that he plays his twin brother in this film, and the character is unnecessary and obnoxious. You wonder if maybe Harrelson only agreed to the sequel if he could play two people at once, because the placement of the character seems so random and utterly useless.
The film really just had one primary purpose, which was to wow the audience with magic tricks, and I have to say that they do achieve that. Yes, certain tricks seem completely unrealistic and non-credible, but the majority of them are very enjoyable. I particularly enjoyed a scene in which the Four Horsemen toss a card between them with the code hidden in it, while security guards pat them down.
But in the end the film was a forced sequel with a lazy and unprofessional script. The magic tricks are cool and nice, but you can’t have an entire film riding on that alone.