Warning: spoilers ahead.
I may be biased, but I have always had a thing for heist movies. “The Italian Job,” “The Ocean’s” movies, and most recently, “Ant-Man,” tend to bring out the kid in me. I love the misdirection of seeing something play out on camera and trying to follow along, only to have the reveal shown and tell me how it all happened.
Review by Nathan Garza
With movies, this is awesome, because they can almost write in anything to make it work, which makes these simply magic tricks without the magician with a top hat and rabbit standing in front of you. The “Now You See Me” movies get to combine heist elements with literal magic tricks and I couldn’t be happier seeing how it will play out in the end.
“Now You See Me” started off with four illusionists (Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, and Dave Franco), each with their own specialty, to become The Four Horsemen and performed large-scale theft on stage and showered the audiences with the money a la Robin Hood. They are, in the movie world, seen as underground heroes, like Anonymous, evading the law and bringing down major corruption.
They were also trying to outrun FBI Agent Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) and insurance magnate Arthur Tressler (Michael Caine) after stealing his money in one of their shows. The FBI hired former magician and trick revealer, Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman), to try and figure out how to hopefully catch them. The Horsemen eventually framed Bradley by stuffing his car with stolen money and get him arrested. SPOILER ALERT: It’s revealed that Agent Rhodes is actually the fifth Horseman and has been helping them all this time.
Now, the cast alone is enough to get your attention and it is almost remarkable that one film was able to afford such an insane group for something that might not excel with flying colors. The first movie was a grand spectacle and I enjoyed it, but with a lot of open ends left some audience members upset that there wasn’t a clear conclusion. That brings us to the sequel.
“Now You See Me 2”
The sequel starts with the Horsemen (minus Isla Fisher) laying low and wondering when they can perform again. They are met by Agent Rhodes introducing them to Lizzy Caplan’s Lula, complete with jokes about how she’s the new female horseman. Everyone else from the original cast returns, and the film even manages to add Daniel Radcliffe as Walter Mabry, tech guru believed to be dead, and Woody Harrelson takes on another role as his character’s twin brother (with hair).
Most of the film takes place in Macau, where conveniently the oldest magic shop in the world is located. It’s nice just to have the cast get to interact in a new place, but other than the magic shop and a small outdoor market, we don’t get to see too much of the area. This is a shame, because if you’re going to point out how you’re on the other side of the world, it would be nice if we felt the cast was as well.
While the new item to steal isn’t the most original plot device, it serves its purpose and conjures thoughts on the issue of digital privacy, which is insanely topical after the recent Apple iPhone encryption argument with the FBI. I’m not sure why Isla Fisher didn’t return, but Lizzy Caplan is a smart choice and brings a talkative and quirky female character to the movie, but the only bad thing was making her obsessed with Dave Franco’s character (though, who’d blame her), because it’d be nicer to have her just be a female lead without also becoming a love interest in the process.
I had a lot of fun and I think they made another enjoyable movie that anybody can sit down and have a good time with. Seeing a ton of acting powerhouses together is beautiful in its own right, but I like that they all seem to be having fun instead of gunning for Oscar nominations.
“Now You See Me 2” releases on Friday June 10 and I highly recommend it.