June 24, 2016


REVIEW: “Now You See Me 2”

I walked in looking to be entertained and walked out feeling like I just completed a magician’s 101 class.

Sequels aren’t easy. There’s a tendency to make it bigger, make more of whatever the hook is, to double down. But you run the risk of creating an imbalance and minimizing the thing that made the movie enjoyable the first go around.

The original took advantage of the charismatic duo of Jesse Eisenberg and Woody Harrelson as they tormented the straight-man in Mark Ruffalo’s character in their cat-and-mouse chase. The interrogation scene was highly memorable. Add to it, Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine weaving throughout and you had fun match-ups in every scene.

Fast forward to “Now You See Me 2”, the same characters, except the female Horseman was replaced, but the glitter is gone. The witty dialogue and engaging battles were replaced with over-the-top magic tricks and twists that served to slow the pacing down.

The film finds the Horseman on the run. A series of events happen that have the Horseman needing to use their skills to steal something. The team stick together for the most part without the type of ongoing cat-and-mouse dynamic that was the spine of the first movie.

Jesse Eisenberg doesn’t have enough to do that makes him shine. And Woody Harrelson has a weird story line that doesn’t add much. The main relationship is between Mark Ruffalo and Morgan Freeman. Their scenes are well done, as you would expect.

Magic Tricks

A lot was put into these tricks. Maybe too much. Sometimes simpler is better. It got to the point where they didn’t feel real, like it was some cgi trick done during editing, making the magicians look more like magical superheros. The writers must have felt this way too because every trick seemed to be accompanied with an explanation as if to say “hey, we’re really doing this and we’ll prove it.”

This wasn’t a deal breaker for me. I came in looking for fun and was happy to leave my brain at the popcorn counter. But one of the tricks lasted for what felt like an entire act. Then there was a section where the Horseman are doing separate tricks. The rain trick was cool but at this point, I was more interested in moving the plot along.

Speaking of Plot

It felt like a train that kept veering off the track onto another one with each twist, subplots and twists within the subplots. The story wasn't difficult to follow; but its progression was slow. Now, things weren’t all bad. The movie started off fast. The problem occurred somewhere at the end of the first act once the Horseman were forced into their plot. Then every scene after that was piled on with tricks and twists. Not enough cool character moments.

In addition, I’m not a fan of scenes where the characters act or respond in a way to trick the audience into thinking one thing when something else is happening. If the characters are acting for a reason to trick another, then fine. But when the characters that are in the know act with other characters that are in the know, well that’s annoying.

All in all, I feel the story would have been better served if they focused more on the characters, witty dialogue and tighter story instead of focusing their energies into creating complications. Everything doesn’t need a twist.

 Score: 5/10


About Lisa

Passionate about movies and writing. Hopes to someday be a published writer. So when she's not staring at the tube, she's spilling her imagination onto a blank page.

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