By Christian DiMartino
Now You See Me 2 is pretty much the same thing as Now You See Me, in that it’s light, breezy fun. Oh yeah, and it’s something of a guilty pleasure.
When Now You See Me came out 3 years ago, it had a slow beginning at the box office, and then, like magic, grew bigger. It either had you under its spell, or you loathed it with a passion (trust me, I know a guy). I went for it. I didn’t take it too seriously, and I had a good time (that twist though… still not buying it). And with that I’ll say, Now You See Me 2 is the same thing. I don’t know if I can say it’s good, but I had fun.
This time around, we find the Four Horseman (Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco, and Lizzy Caplan, replacing Isla Fisher’s character) kind of in hiding after the events of the last film. Mark Ruffalo is still in disguise as an FBI agent. Just as they’re about to re-emerge, their plans are soon put on hold.
Turns out, someone really isn’t happy with them. That someone being Thaddeus (Morgan Freeman), who was framed and imprisoned by the Horseman. He’s not alone though. Harry Potter himself (or, Daniel Radcliffe as some Walter guy) wants them to settle a score of his own, and basically tells them that if they don’t do what he wants, he’ll kill them (his reasons for revenge, if you look at the cast list, are fairly obvious). Also thrown into the mix is Harrelson’s evil twin, played by… Woody Harrelson.
Round 2 is pretty much more of the same. Lots of ridiculousness (did you see that scene where they’re throwing that chip around?), but it’s easy on the eyes. Call me simpleminded, but like the first film, I found Now You See Me 2 amusing in the ways its predecessor was. It’s ridiculous, but you never sense it taking itself seriously. It almost feeds off of it. Not to mention, it has some “ooh… ahh” sequences, such as when Eisenberg controls the rain (?). Don’t question it.
I had fun, to an extent. Yes, it’s convoluted and what not. But the cast lets it go down easy. Though on one note, I’ll say this: the idea of two Woody Harrelsons sounds great on paper, but onscreen it doesn’t work. Or, half of his performance doesn’t work. The new half. Also, Radcliffe and Caplan, on occasion, kind of overdo it. Caplan less than Radcliffe though. Plus why doesn’t Radcliffe do any magic? C’mon, you had your chance, and ya blew it.
It all leads to a twist that, once again, I didn’t fully buy. Why would someone go to so much trouble? Ah, you won’t know what the hell I’m talking about until you see it. But if you agree, please, let me know.
I don’t know if I could tell you with a straight face that Now You See Me 2 is a good film necessarily. But it’s a fun one, and after seeing Warcraft, I needed something fun.