Don’t expect Now You See Me 2 to close the loop of its 2013 predecessor. It’ll leave you with more questions.
Now You See Me 2 delivers on its promise of actions and tricks. The magic-heist thriller features even more mind-bending set pieces than its 2013 predecessor, which rakes in more than US$350 million worldwide. Unfortunately, it’s so hard to follow the myriad of tricks and make sense of the many loose ends that we get very little kick out of a sequel that’s made to thrill.
Now You See Me 2 reunites many actors from the original ensemble cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson and Dave Franco, with new faces including Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe, Mean Girls’ Lizzy Caplan and Taiwanese king of pop Jay Chou. The story follows the Four Horsemen as they resurface after 1 year of hiatus to pull off their most dangerous heist as yet. As they do so they also uncover more of “The Eye”, the mysterious organization that recruit them and other illusionists.
There are 3 main reasons why we find the sequel less likeable than its predecessor.
- Too Fast Too Furious
A heist film typically thrives with a fast-moving plot. But Now You See Me 2 is probably too fast for its own good.
“You’re still thinking about how they did something in the previous scene and you’re introduced to a new scenario where new tricks are happening,” movie-goer Joel Ng, 18, told the UrbanWire after catching the sequel. “You just get confused as to what to focus on.”
We too find the fast-moving plots more frustrating than exhilarating. How did the Four Horsemen end up in Macau after sliding down a pipe in New York? Why are they introduced to the mentalist’s resentful twin brother (Woody Harrelson) there and whizzed off to serve a man-boy tech wizard (Daniel Radcliffe)?
Sorry, no time for questions.
- Plot holes aplenty
Yes, we know this is popcorn entertainment, but still, there’s a limit to how much we can overlook plot holes and loose ends.
For instance, we wonder if Owen Case (Ben Lamb), the man who owns the coveted data mining software – the target of the heist – ever comes out of the hypnosis performed on him by the mentalist (Woody Harrelson). Logically, he should. But if he does, how could he have done nothing to stop the heist?
In the last 5 minutes of the movie, another plot twist emerges. The film suggests that Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman) is the leader of The Eye when he says he will pass down the mantle to Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo), the leader of the Four Horsemen. At this point, we are still trying to figure out what The Eye is and who the people behind the secret squad are. We are not ready for the succession plan.
“It’s like the characters know what’s going on but the audience always doesn’t,” another movie-goer Tan Yek Chuen, 18, said.
- Trick me not
What makes Now You See Me tick?
To a large extent, we’re drawn to its slick sequences of imaginative but believable magic tricks. The sequel, however, takes everything overboard. From Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg) disappearing in a puddle of water to Lula May (Lizzy Caplan) surviving a “decapitation”, the tricks are so improbable that we start asking ourselves if we’re watching a film about modern-day illusionists or yet another superhero film set in an alternate fictional universe.
The action-pack film still offers good entertainment, but it’ll also be a real test of your ability to suspend your disbelief.
Overall rating: ★★★½☆
Release Date: 16 June 2016
Runtime: 129 minutes
Censorship Rating: PG
Genre: Caper thriller, Action
Director: Jon M. Chu
Featured Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco, Daniel Radcliffe, Lizzy Caplan, Morgan Freeman, Jay Chou