The original movie, while very far from being a great film, was a guilty pleasure of mine. Plot twists were bad, the CGI ruined the magical atmosphere it tried to build, the characters were shallow… but it was easily enjoyable. It was dumb fun, but at least it was fun. Maybe a review will be posted soon.
Now You See Me 2 does every mistake the original did, and adds a few more.
The movie starts pretty well. It builds upon the first one with a flashback, adding a bit of depth to one of the characters, Rhodes, the detective Mark Ruffalo plays. It is indeed a nice way to start, as it shows what reason Rhodes has to hate Morgan Freeman’s character, Thaddeus Bradley. This wasn’t really necessary as Bradley had already been defined as an antagonist in Now You See Me, but it adds a personal problem that does the story well.
After this short sequence, every single scene makes pretty much no sense. The story is dumb, full of forced and terrible twists that instead of surprising the viewers treats them as if they were stupid. These aren’t plot twists that you didn’t see coming because they direction misdirected you from the truth, but because they make no sense at all. It would be easier to actually believe in real magic. Some of the cool-looking moments were stretched far beyond their possibility too, so many things that could have been “cool”, turn out to be repetitive, and boring.
More importantly, this film it messes up the few plot points that were good in the first movie, by turning evil characters into secret heroes and adding new characters that were supposedly there the whole time. After watching this sequel, rewatching the original just felt wrong.
One of those new characters is the evil twin of Merritt, the mentalist portrayed by Woody Harrelson, which ends up being an annoying and unfunny effort of surprising the audience that simply put, does not work. Lizzy Caplan plays Lula, a female magician that appears out of nowhere so that there’s a lady in the team, since Isla Fisher couldn’t join the cast due to her pregnancy. Caplan does a quite good job as an actress, but her efforts are unable to overcome the problems of her character: silly lines, bad jokes and annoying behaviour throughout the entire movie.
The rest of the characters are awful too, specially
Harry Potter’s Daniel Radcliffe’s part, who seemed to be created just to have the actor that portrayed the most famous wizard ever in the film.
CGI is also a major problem here. As in the original movie, there is an obsession of explaining how the magic tricks were achieved in Now You See Me 2, but then uses full blown computer generated images as the only method to achieve other effects, immediately popping the bubble full of magic that it’s supposed to surround the movie. If these were limited to those magical moments that are not essential to the story, it would could be a minor problem. But when Jesse Eisenberg’s character vanishes into thin air in front of the camera for story reasons, it’s just unacceptable.
This film insults the audience, it lacks a coherent storyline, wastes the talent of an all-stars cast and even ruins its predecessor. Everything seems to be rushed in order the movie to release before people forgot about the original. It’s absolutely lame throughout the entire runtime, with just a few exceptions. This is the only time I left the theatre in a bad mood. I was genuinely angry. It made me hate magic – and hell, I’m a magician. 2/10