Back in 2013, Summit Entertainment released “Now You See Me.” The movie told the story of four professional magicians — Danny Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg), Merritt McKinney (Woody Harrelson), Henley Reeves (Isla Fisher) and Jack Wilder (Dave Franco) — known as the Four Horsemen. The gang performs complicated tricks — including robbing a bank in Paris while performing in Las Vegas — that forces them to go on the run from the FBI. The rest of the movie can be described as a cat and mouse story as FBI agent Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) and former magician Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman) keep going after the group, only to find them one step ahead.
While the movie was far from perfect — mostly due to its highly complicated story and less than memorable characters — there were several elements in it that stood out. The actors all gave great performances, the twist at the end was creative and shocking and the magic tricks showed just how much attention the creators paid to detail.
Now three years later, the sequel “Now You See Me 2” has hit theaters. The film brings back the adventures of the Horsemen, this time featuring a mission to steal a device that can access any piece of electronics on Earth. Throughout the movie, the team is constantly on the run, attempting to keep the device from falling into the wrong hands, but whose hands are the wrong ones becomes harder and harder to keep track of.
While the story is still complex, it’s definitely easier to understand than the first film. Part of that is due to the film explaining a good amount of the magic tricks performed by the Horsemen and what they did in order to make it seem like real magic. Some may argue this destroys a bit of the wonder the first movie created, but one thing both movies have always made very clear is that none of the tricks are real magic.
The climax of the movie was also impressive. It can easily be split in two halves, the first being suspenseful and full of tricks and the second raising the stakes to a new level. Without giving too much away, the second half will keep viewers on the edge of their seats, desperately trying to predict what is going to happen to the Horsemen.
However, like the first movie, the sequel is far from perfect. It’s obvious the creators focused more on the magic tricks and how they’re performed than they did writing an original story. The portions of the plot that don’t involve magic tricks have been done many times before and the constant barrage of tricks are the only thing keeping the story from becoming completely stale.
Also similar to the first movie is how the characters are one dimensional, despite the actors trying their best. Sometimes the writers would try to develop them or give them their own character arcs, but most of the time those arcs lead to dead ends.
The biggest problem with the movie though is how forgettable it is. Viewers may find themselves quickly forgetting what happened hours after finishing it. “Now You See Me 2” is by no means a magical experience, but fans of the first movie may walk away feeling charmed.