One year after outwitting the F.B.I. and winning the public's adulation with their Robin Hood-style magic spectacles, The Four Horsemen resurface for a comeback performance in hopes of exposing the unethical practices of a tech magnate. The man behind their vanishing act is none other than Walter Mabry, a tech prodigy who threatens the Horsemen into pulling off their most impossible heist yet. Their only hope is to perform one last unprecedented stunt to clear their names and reveal the mastermind behind it all.Written by
Miss the "magic" of the first, but still entertaining
I really enjoyed the first NOW YOU SEE ME film. I thought that film's premise "magicians robbing a bank" was original and the execution of the unique script by Ed Solomon and Boaz Yakin by director Louis Leterrier was strong. Add to that the casting - Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher and Dave Franco as "The Four Horseman", Melanie Laurent, Common and (especially) Mark Ruffalo as the cops who were chasing them and sprinkle in good ol' Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman into a plot that kept you guessing to the end and you had a fun ride.
My only question was, could the sequel capture the...wait for it...MAGIC (yes I went there) of the original?
And my answer is...sort of.
Kind of like seeing a magic show for the 2nd time, the spark of originality and wonderment was mostly missing this time around, consequently NOW YOU SEE ME 2 turned into a fairly standard crime/action caper - but with magic instead of guns, cars or fights.
All that said, I was still entertained by this film, but that enjoyment was filled with an undercurrent of disappointment as I wanted to by "wowed" like I was with the first film.
The script - written by Ed Solomon, one of the writers of the original, struck me as a "job script", that is, a script written for money from the studio vs. a "passion script" where the author has an idea they are passionate about and that passion is shown on the screen. Add to that the fact that Jon M.Chu - director of GI JOE: RETALIATION (not exactly CITIZEN KANE) - helmed this film and you have a movie that feels professional, competent and workman-like.
What saves this movie is the performances. Three of the horsemen are back (Isla Fisher had to bow out due to a pregnancy) and the bi- play and the interaction between Eisenberg, Harrelson and Franco fits like an old glove. They get to interact with Ruffalo more in this film and that's a plus. Freeman and Caine return and are as dependable as ever and newcomers Daniel Radcliffe, Tsai Chin and (especially) Jay Chou were fun. Only Lizzy Caplan's Lula didn't really work for me - I thought she was trying to hard to fill in for Fisher.
Interestingly enough, I could shake the feeling, as I was watching this film, that I was watching the 2nd chapter in a trilogy, even though this one did NOT end in a cliffhanger. Sure enough, upon further review, NOW YOU SEE ME 3 is currently filming.
All in all, I enjoyed this film, I just wish I could have been surprised more, like I was in the first film.
7 (out of 10) stars and you can take that to the Bank (of Marquis)
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