Running Time: 129 minutes
Director: John M. Chu
Release Date: June 10
I went to see Now You See Me part 2, the sequel to the acclaimed Now You See Me. After the awesomeness of the first movie I was eager to see what Ed Solomon and John M. Chu had up their sleeves this time for the second movie of what is likely going to turn into a franchise at some point. Suffice to say I ended up leaving the screening room with mixed feelings. There are parts of the movie that were awesome enough, but for the most part it was a let down; and that is putting it mildly.
The movie was sharp out of the starting blocks, setting the tone for a fast paced exciting action movie, with twists and turns that got the viewers excited and wanting more. However it runs out of steam halfway through and drags ass to a limp finish. Some of the tricks performed by the Horsemen,(e.g that scene in the lab to steal the chip), were awesome, but it seemed the director hoped that the magic trick scenes will keep the audience hooked enough for it to not notice the threadbare plot and the utter lack of conflict and suspense in the entire movie. The skimpy plot meant the clever scenes gets unnecessarily dragged out, which make them lose any iota of tension they should have created for the viewer. It also makes it difficult to take the whole movie seriously.
A movie about magic is supposed to heighten excitement and leave the audience buzzing as they leave the cinema. Any attempt that Now You See Me 2 might have made to do that is undercut by its own ridiculous plot conveniences, idiot balls,(why didn’t Arthur Tressler just shoot Rhodes full of holes and dump his body into the water) Chekov’s guns and ass pulls. Abilities that don’t work until the plot needs them to (Hypnosis doesn’t work that way folks are you guys too cheap to hire real doctors or what?), villiains whose motivations make no sense in the movie’s context and who carry the idiot ball so much that no audience member older than six years with a working brain would consider them a threat to the heroes (which shits on anything resembling realism in the movie ). The movie twists and turns its way into reveals that not only piss on the premise of the entire movie, but also make the awesome scenes pointless. For example the movie reveals that the owner of the lab was working for the Eye all along, so what was the point of the elaborate action set piece to steal the Mc Guffin scene? Perhaps the biggest one that made me almost roll my eyes to the back of my head was the half assed reveal that Thaddeus Bradley played by Morgan Freeman was the Eye all along, a reveal which vomited on not only the entire plot of this movie, but also rendered the entire last movie irrelevant. A reveal that the director hoped he could half ass by distracting us with Morgan Freeman’s voice (He couldn’t). At the end of the day it feels like you are watching Harry Potter, back when Harry Potter was still a movie for children. Can Someone call John M. Chu aside and tell him that saying that magic being the premise of a movie is not a free pass for said movie to shit as it likes on its own internal universe?
While we are talking about Harry Potter, I feel the director of Now You See Me tried to create a cool by association bromance (Magic, mythical imagery and all) with Harry Potter by bringing Harry Potter himself as Walter Marbury, the tech enthusiast bad guy. However if you are casting one of the greatest wizards of all time in your magic movie, maybe don’t cast him as a bad guy. Daniel Radcliffe pretty much did his best impression of every thing you hated about Jesse Eisenberg in Batman Vs Superman:Dawn of Justice. As for Michael Caine, who plays Arthur Tressler, the bad guy from the first movie, one suspects that his days being a character that makes any sort of impact in movies are long past, he is just using movies as his pension fund now, basically getting paid to do nothing. Other than the two bad guys, the acting was generally okay, I think the Horsemen all did very well, especially Lula May, played by Lizzy Caplan, whose energy and irreverence seemed to reinforce the image of the Horsemen from the first movie. Jesse Eisenberg, still did a bit of his Lex Luthor whinny, sentient face punch impression, but he did tone it down a bit, and it looked better here, than it did in that giant turd of a movie (You know which one). One more thing, China should just discard their own movie industry since Hollywood is theirs these days. FFS does everything have to be pandering to China now?
Overall I would rate Now You See Me2 as a 5/10 movie. It isn’t as good as the first one, but it isn’t a movie you can’t enjoy if you can suspend your disbelief for a few hours. But the news that the studio and the director have started development on Now You See Me 3 sort of makes me want to throw up in my mouth a bit. One sure thing is that I will certainly not be reserving first row seats for it