Directed by | Jon M. Chu
Produced by | Alex Kurtzman, Robert Orci, Bobby Cohen
Screenplay by | Ed Solomon
Starring | Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco, Daniel Radcliffe, Lizzy Caplan, Jay Chou, Sanaa Lathan, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman
Run Time | 129 minutes
Certificate | 12A
Plot | A year or so on from the events of Now You See Me, the Horsemen come out of hiding, targeting a malevolent media mogul for their comeback trick/performance. However, their return is sabotaged by a foe that seems to be able to predict their every move.
Review | Louis Leterrier’s Now You See Me was a charming film that had buckets of swagger and showmanship. Jon M. Chu’s follow-up is a clunky but entertaining continuation of the horsemen’s story.
The majority of the cast from the original are back. The only notable omission is Henley Reeves (Isla Fisher) who is replaced by fast-talking sleight-of-hand expert Lula May (an entertaining Lizzy Caplan). As for the antagonists, Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine make welcome returns, and they are joined by franchise newbie Daniel Radcliffe. Radcliffe plays technological prodigy Walter Mabry, a quirky villain intent on manipulating the horsemen to his own end.
Though there is little character development, the cast nonetheless perform admirably – particularly newcomers Caplan and Radcliffe. The only real misstep comes from Woody Harrelson, who pulls double duty by playing Merritt’s twin brother Chase. Even for a film as unrealistic as this, the character is very cartoonish and would feel more at home in Zoolander than here.
There are a few niggles that hold this back from quite reaching the quality of its predecessor. Considering where Mark Ruffalo’s character was left at the end of the first film, the lack of character development for him feels particularly grating. Also, there’s a ret-conning of certain historical events that set up the previous film that don’t make a lick of sense, and seem to be included to be able to have a character switch sides more easily than should be possible.
Thankfully, the film itself it a fun ride – if a little bloated. Clocking in at over two hours, one has to wonder if some of the scenes couldn’t have been trimmed a little. Still, the tricks are fun and there’s an impressive set piece or two.
Ultimately, whether you enjoy Now You See Me 2 will depend on what you thought of the first film. Basically, if you liked/disliked the original, then you will likely feel the same about the sequel.
The Verdict | A decent, entertaining follow-up to the charming original. If you liked Now You See Me, you will enjoy this sequel.