Now You See Me 2 is a sequel to Now You See Me (review available) which turned out to be a rather enjoyable movie. Everybody loves a little bit of magic and with the help of Hollywood we got a heist and a magic show all wrapped into one with flare and effects, while remaining somewhat believable.
The cast was able to reprise their roles in the film aside from a very noticeable absence. One of our four horsemen, Henley Reeves (Isla Fisher) was unable to reprise her role due to pregnancy forcing the producers to replace her with another actress, Lula May (Lizzy Caplan). Afraid that the obvious change in cast which always leaves a bitter taste in the audiences mouthes, they chose to distract the audiences attention, like any good magician, by adding the king of magic himself, Daniel Radcliffe.
The Four Horsemen are following mysterious orders of an illusive group known as The Eye. The ancient group have a plan for the horseman, the end game unknown to all including us. After the horsemen were forced into hiding after the first film, they begin to get antsy and tired of hiding and waiting. With the newly revealed fifth horsemen from the first film, the group are given their next task to reveal a corrupt businessman. When things don’t go quite as planned as they are outed to the world by an unknown enemy. Familiar faces from the past come back alongside new enemies and the horsemen must try to reveal their enemies identity to the world before being caught by the police.
Creating sequels to any film is a very tricky business and when you start to add and remove characters you begin to play with fire. I loved Isla Fisher and was very sad that she was not able to reprise her role. Lizzy Caplan’s character was funny and entertaining, but she had a strange rambling persona similar to Jesse Eisenberg and I wasn’t a fan of the random attempt at striking a romance. Danielle Radcliffe brings the Potter fans to the plate even poking fun at himself and playing a villain in this role.
Although I believe there is much more of the horsemen’s story we have yet to see I’m unsure if there would be enough to create a third and perhaps final film to the franchise. There are new secrets revealed and I would be surprised to find I was the only one who noticed a very serious unanswered question which I believe could be the core to a third film. I would suggest it to also be a final film so as not to drag things odd and destroy anything good the concept has going for it.
There are a few more negative things I would like to touch on before ending this review. Woody Harrelson has an odd charm as an actor and his character is funny and a favourite in the film. The second film, in addition to the character games already mentioned, decided to add a twin brother for Harrelson’s character and had him film the role by simply adding a ridiculous afro wig. His brother’s character was one of those quick fix solutions that leaves the audience questioning the oddity and distracting away from the cheap trick and filler to tie the films loose ends. Perhaps if they decide to add another film to the series they can address my final qualm which would have to be with the title. The first film was called “Now You See Me”, don’t tell me that you heard there would be a second film and didn’t think to yourself that it should be called “Now You Don’t”.
Now You See Me 2 is one of those 5 out of 10 films where it sits teetering in the middle. There are things I love about the franchise and have great hopes for it, but there are many things working against it. The producers shot themselves in the foot a few times with many of these things; however, I would still be willing to stand by a third and final film for the franchise. I think anything over three would be pushing it. For those who have not seen Now You See Me, I would have to question why you are reading the review for the second film without seeing the first. My recommendation is to give both movies a chance, but not to get your hopes too high.