Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Now You See Me 2 film review

Went to see this film at the Leeds/Bradford Odeon yesterday with my friends Claire and Aj.

IMDB says: The Four Horsemen resurface and are forcibly recruited by a tech genius to pull off their most impossible heist yet.

In this Jon M. Chu (Step Up 2: The Streets, G. I. Joe: Retaliation) directed and Ed Solomon (Men In Black, Now You See Me ) written (story and screenplay), along with Peter Chiarelli (The Proposal, Eagle Eye) - story, Edward Ricourt (Jessica Jones, Now You See Me) - characters and Boaz Yakin (Safe, Prince of Persia: Sands of Time) - characters, film Mark Ruffalo (Spotlight, Begin Again) once again stars as FBI agent Dylan Rhodes who is hiding in plain sight whilst appearing to hunt the fugitives, The Four Horsemen.  Henley has left and new girl Lula (Lizzy Caplan: Mean Girls, 127 Hours) has stepped in to replace her, along with the originals, J. Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg: The Social Network, Zombieland), Merritt McKinney Woody Harrelson: The Hunger Games, No Country for Old Men) and the now presumed dead, Jack Wilder (Dave Franco: 21 Jump Street, Superbad).  Having been hidden from view for a year, they are restless, no more so that Atlas, who approaches the Eye having lost faith in their leader.

Tasked with a new target, a tech magnate, they resurface only to be taken mid-act by Walter Mabry (Daniel Radcliffe: Harry Potter, The Woman in Black), a presumed-dead tech prodigy who blackmails the Horsemen into pulling off an impossible heist.  Can they outwit him and turn the tables on him, clean their names and reveal the real criminal mastermind?  And can Rhodes work with old enemy Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman: The Shawshank Redemption, Se7en) to find The Horsemen in time?

Lizzy Caplan in Now You See Me 2 (2016)

I loved the original movie, it's sense of fun and likeable characters drew me to anticipating the sequel and though I didn't think it was as good, the same style was present in this one.  Yes, the magic is not believable (but it wasn't in the first movie), and yes, because of the first movie it is easier to spot the 'tells' of the tricks and therefore what is going to happen next, but the film doesn't seem to deserve the bad reviews it seems to be getting in spades.  The Horsemen did not come across as large as life (or arrogant depending upon your point of view) during their magic stints as in the previous film, but considering they had spent a year in hiding and were under duress to get the job done for a psychotic man-child rather than their beloved leader, this could be explained away, and I agree that the sub plot involving Freeman and Ruffalo did detract from the action in terms of the magic, but it still had the twists and turns and the cheese of the first movie (provided mostly by Harrelson's dual role and the 'romance' between Lula and Jack in this instalment).  The main villain from the first film, Tressler (Michael Caine: The Kingsmen), has a role and I think it would have been the poorer for it if he had not.

The addition of Radcliffe as a creepy bad guy was a brilliant move, though I wish he had been used a little more, but sadly the magic itself involved too much CGI and spoiled the 'how did they do that' feeling that the first film captured so well (though I did enjoy the end section with the plane - maybe because it was explained, directors please take note for part 3).  This took away quite a bit of the magic, if you will excuse the pun, for there is one thing to suspend belief and then to have the tricks 'revealed' at the end of the movie (David Warshofsky's (Captain Phillips, There Will Be Blood) Agent Cowan being fooled and foiled was so entertaining in the first one, but it lacked this vital element this time - we all like to see the main character one-up an unlikeable character), but quite another for something to never be explained and rely on the 'magician never reveals his tricks' line.  That was, after all, part of the fun of the first film.

Yet, even though the lack of intrigue and easily guessed plot should have ruined the film for me, I was still entertained, as were my friends.  The acting was great, as expected from heavyweights such as Caine and Freeman, and the visuals were stunning.  I wasn't wowed, but I had fun.  I am hoping next time, it will tick all the boxes.

Trivia: Walter Mabry (Daniel Radcliffe) says that he dabbled with magic while he was at school. Radcliffe, of course, played Harry Potter in all eight films of the franchise, where he did indeed use magic.  Lizzy Caplan replaced Isla Fisher due to pregnancy, but Fisher is due to return in the next instalment, the third movie which was announced over a year before this movie and is set to come out in 2017/18.  This the sixth time Morgan Freeman and  Michael Caine appear in the same project as they previously starred together in Freedon: A History of Us (2003), Batman Begins (2005), The Dark Knight (2008), The Dark Knight Rises (2012) and Now You See Me (2013), and are set to star together a seventh time in  Going in Style (2017).

Tagline: If you think you've seen it all take another look.                                        7/10

Jesse Eisenberg in Now You See Me 2 (2016)

To see a trailer for the film

#NowYouSeeMe2  #nowyouseeme

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