Now You See Me 2
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In the summer of 2013, a movie season bursting with sequels, prequels, reboots, and adaptations (so pretty much like the summer of 2016), one sleeper hit stood out for its originality. Though the crime caper Now You See Me tested the bounds of believability with its Robin Hood–style magicians who pulled off eye-popping heists to rob from the rich and give to the, well, middle class, the craziness was just fresh, fun, and stylish enough to work.
Naturally, Hollywood is bringing the illusionist thieves back for a sequel.
Now You See Me 2 (rated PG-13 for language) takes everything audiences loved in the first act and blings it up with even more sequins and sleights of hand. Did the original border on campy? This outing features Woody Harrelson playing his own evil (and vaguely effeminate) twin brother. Was the first plot a little overwrought? This one has so many twists and turns Houdini himself couldn’t untangle it.
Once again the world’s foremost illusionists, known as The Four Horsemen (Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Dave Franco, and Lizzy Caplan), are brought together by a mysterious magical society known as The Eye to stop a megalomaniac tech wizard (Daniel Radcliffe in a brilliantly cheeky bit of casting) from using a powerful computer chip to annihilate humankind’s last vestiges of personal privacy. Meanwhile, the ring leader of the Horsemen, FBI agent and secret magician Dylan Rhodes (a spectacularly miscast Mark Ruffalo), finds he still has a score to settle with professional magic trick spoiler Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman).
This entire smoke-and-mirrors roller coaster is utterly preposterous, yet undeniably fun. Sure, it brings up issues of public control via the government/corporate/tech complex, but embodies them in a villain so cartoonish, it’s hard to invest any real outrage in the proceedings. Best, like a glitzy Vegas act, to leave any questions of how or why the tricks work till after you’ve enjoyed the show.
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