Verdict: A pointless sequel to a pointless film.
Louis Leterrier’s 2013 heist thriller Now You See Me has everything you could wish for in a movie – action, mystery, comedy, a cast of your favorite actors, and even magic! In spite of adding the choicest of ingredients, the movie fails to cook up a good plot. The sequel, directed by Jon M. Chu, brings back the movie’s four Horsemen (or as we like to say the three Horsemen and one Horsewoman) with an attempt to recreate the magic through the second act. Better than its predecessor, Now You See Me 2 still fails to offer any excitement or drama from its prime elements.
The movie takes place one year after the final act in Now You See Me. The Horsemen (Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco and Lizzy Caplan), all hiding from the law, are awaiting word on their next move from their leader Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo). Rhodes, meanwhile has other things on his mind. While sidetracking the FBI with false news about the Horsemen, he is planning a grand show to expose corrupt businessman Owen Case (Ben Lamb). The cards turn on him when his true identity of being the fifth Horseman is exposed at the show and he too, has to go into hiding. Moreover, the Horsemen suddenly find themselves in the Chinese region of Macau. There they are taken to the technology prodigy and sociopath Walter Mabry (Daniel Radcliffe) who commands them to steal a data-mining device for him. Initially agreeing to his wishes, the Horsemen later realize that the plot is much deeper and that their previous run-in with billionaire Arthur Tressler (Michael Caine) is far from over. Meanwhile, Rhodes is still a fugitive and has to take the help of his nemesis Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman) to find the Horsemen.
As you can see, the film includes the who’s who of Hollywood. Yet the actors do not seem to make much difference from their roles in other movies. Morgan Freeman plays the preacher, Mark Ruffalo is the good guy, Woody Harrelson is funny and Jesse Eisenberg is serious. Nothing new there. Lizzy Caplan comes as an interesting and energizing addition, but is barely noticeable by the end of the movie, as the complex plot takes up all your attention. Engaging at first, the story goes in different directions, and the initial flair quickly fizzles out. The movie extends beyond necessity, and the final reveal does not create the excitement it means to. With on-going plans for a third movie, the franchise seems to have fallen prey to toxic sequelitis, and we can only hope that 3 works out to be the lucky number for the magicians.
Why You Should Watch This Movie
At least one of your favorite actors is bound to be in this film. If not, give Now You See Me 2 a try simply to watch Daniel Radcliffe in a crazy new avatar. He does not disappoint.