Now You See Me 2 – 2/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

now you see me 2Now You See Me 2 – 2/5 – Sequels can either be beloved or hated.  When it comes to sequels, they are the kind of stories that you expect some sort of progression with the characters involved.  No matter what, sequels are always bound to happen.  Case in point is the film Now You See Me.  It was a movie that ‘dabbled’ in the art of magic, but gave us a different heist film with immense possibilities.  From that we get a sequel that tries a lot of new things, but ends up rehashing a lot of the same stuff without no real coherent plotline.  Now You See Me 2 tries a little too hard and fails to recaptures what was fun about the first film.

Premise:  The Horsemen continue on the magical quest; as they must expose the truth of another bad corporation.

The return cast that are:

The Horseman:

Jesse Eisenberg as Atlas

Woody Harrelson as Merritt McKinney

David Franco as Jack Wilder

And the rest:

Mark Ruffalo as Dylan Rhodes

Morgan Freeman as Thaddeus Bradley

Michael Caine as Arthur Tressler

These individuals recaptured what made these characters intriguing for the audience.  They stand out because of the dialogue.  The conversations are marked within a fluid perceptive feeling; playing to the strengths of wit and humor that is marked within the art of relationships.  Especially with The Horsemen, you feel the truth in their partnerships; one that has grown into something more with the added time they have been together.  Even for the wonderful dialogue, they don’t stand apart from the basic archetypes of a typical heist film.  Within The Horsemen, they each play typecast ‘skilled’ characters; only levied by performances built on quantity not quality.  This is the exact same with the rest of the returning cast (Dylan, Thaddeus and Arthur).  These three are typecasts of the continued roles as mentor, wildcard and villain.  With a sequel comes new characters.  Here you have:

Lizzy Caplan as Lula

Daniel Radcliffe as Walter Mabry

Along with a couple others (Jay Chou as LI and Tsai Chin as Bu Bu), they are just additional elements to the one-dimensional archetypes as the returners.  Outside of the commonalities; they help fuel the fire with the whimsical banter between the characters.  The rest of the secondary cast are not heavily involved with the story; playing in the background for the complexion of the world.

The direction is less then spectacular.  As this film is only a continuation; it builds upon the loose threads left to from the first.  From the beginning, you are brought back into the world of The Horsemen as they are set forth on a new ‘mission’ from The Eye to take out a big corporation.  Playing the role of ‘Robin Hood’; they must additional deal with forced ‘unexpected’ twists that create a new set of obstacles.  After this introduction, it begins to parallel some of the concepts from the original.  The mimic of the subtle use of ‘magic tricks’ to create a different take on a heist film is diluted because it tries too hard to play the smoke and mirrors game with the audience. This factor creates a situation where the mimicking behavior adds an unwanted element of generic narration.  It goes as followed:

Expositional of heist setup > Heist commences with ‘magic’ involved > situational/twist happens > Unlikely/Unwanted scenario > move on to new heist

Additionally, the sequel divulges deeper into a mythos that wasn’t needed.  The layers of more secondary storylines only creates twist and turns that makes the plot a convoluted mess.  The lack of coherency can only drive the audience away from what the ideal theme of ‘magic’ that was initially the hook.  For all these flaws, what will keep the audience entertained is the characters themselves.  The added cliché of a ‘cartoonish’ like mantra helps bring some color to the whimsical dialogue that happens.  It is the unpredictable use of reactions from the characters that make all the situations more bearable.  As we head into the final act, it plays out just like the first film.  What you have is this big grand finale that leads to an exposure of the truth.  It is a ‘dramatic’ revelation from The Horsemen to the world.  The dilution of the predictable climax happens in the epilogue.  The ‘full circle’ expositional element forces plot threads together just out of convenience.  What you end with is a final dagger on any enjoyment.

The visuals are less then amazing.  Outside of the ‘smoke’ and ‘mirror’ techniques used with the magic, there is nothing worth talking about.  The score is pretty much the boring soundtrack used from the first film.

Now You See Me 2 is a sequel that is too convoluted for its own good.  With the unnecessary twist/turns and forced melding of plot threads; it turns into a lacking experience.  What keeps you entertained is the dialogue and interactions between characters.  This film is a rental at best.

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