Now You See Me was an incredibly stupid film. None of the characters were likable and they all did things which were beyond the realms of reality, and behaved like they all belonged in a mental institution. The final twist made even less sense than the events preceding it. So it’s nothing short of a feat that the sequel manages to escalate the stupidity even further considering how high the first film set the bar.
If you liked the ridiculousness of the first film, you’ll probably also manage to sit through Now You See Me 2. This time the story picks up one year after the events of the previous movie. Magician turned robbers Daniel (Jesse Eisenberg), Merrit (Woody Harrelson) and Jack (Dave Franco) are on the run from the police. Their leader Dylan (Mark Ruffalo) gives them the mission to find some dirt on a corrupt businessman. Naturally the mission goes South and the hunters become the hunted.
The problem with this film is that it makes even little sense than you expect it to. Take any Abbas-Mastan movie and you’ll find it has more logic than any single minute of Now You See Me 2. Writer Ed Solomon and director Jon Chu throw in a barrage of twists that are so ridiculous they border on unintentionally funny territory. There are vengeful twins, a villainous mastermind who may actually be a hero, people who faked their own deaths, and those are just in the first hour. Post interval the film becomes a competition of how high you could suspend your disbelief.
The disappointing thing is all this ridiculousness could still have been enjoyable had the film not taken itself so seriously. A little self aware humor could have helped the film because they audiences would be aware of the fact that the film knows it’s silly. The other frustrating aspect is the abundance of CGI that doubles up as magic. Most of the graphics are painfully obvious and knowing that something is fake takes away the charm of any ‘magic’.
Of course none of the stars, despite being adorned in flashy suits makes any effort to mask the fact that they’re in the movie for their paychecks. Daniel Radcliffe, who plays a character best not revealed is the only mildly entertaining of the lot but he’s offset by Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman’s bored countenances. Radcliffe’s addition seems to be a last minute change to make the film even bigger because his character is introduced as this huge thing and is suddenly given a back seat after yet another twist in the tale. By the end of the film it doesn’t even matter if he existed in the film.
Director Chu, who is known for his music video work stays firmly with the formula to showcase the cinematic equivalent of pop music, but the innocent charm of that music genre is lost in the mirthless flashiness in the execution of the film. The people in charge didn’t name this film Now You Don’t probably because they thought it would be a warning for audiences to avoid the film. Luckily people are intuitive enough to latch on to things like this.