Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Now You See Me 2

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! Now You See Me 2Missing the Mark for a Great Subtitle.

Now You See Me 2 – 3 out of 5

Critics weren’t too kind to Now You See Me and they all had a great time all doing the same joke about how the only magic trick the film accomplished was making their time and money disappear—and then all of them thought they were the wittiest people in the world.  Critics can sometimes be like open mic comedians who are all doing the same punchlines to the same jokes about topical events.  Well, I watched the first film and, even though it had a lot of problems with plot and character, I had some fun with it.  I wouldn’t go as far to say I was pumped for a sequel but I wasn’t going to scoff at watching Now You See Me Now You Don’t 2.  So, is this a grand illusion or is this just wild bumbling like watching one of Gob Bluth’s tricks?

If anything, the movie lets us hear Morgan Freeman's voice and that is
never a bad thing.

After years of hiding, the Four Horseman are back—well, most of them, anyway.  After being influenced by the mysterious organization called The Eye,  J. Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg), Merritt McKinney (Woody Harrelson), Jack Wilder (Dave Franco), newcomer Lula (Lizzy Caplan) and the FBI agent Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) attempt to uncover a corrupt businessman but find themselves the ones outwitted.  A brilliant tech guru named Walter Mabry (Daniel Radcliffe) has the group between a rock and a hard place and forces them to use their skills in magic and sleight of hand to steal a very advanced data-mining device.  Reluctantly, they agree but there’s more to this trick than what the eye sees.

Look, it's The Horsemen's backs!  Get it?  They're back and they have their
backs to the camera!  Eh?  Eh?  I'm sorry for that.

For the most part, Now You See Me 2 isn’t too bad.  It’s a tad fun, the story is alright, the performances are great (I really enjoyed Lizzy Caplan in her role, she was super entertaining and funny) and the magic tricks were pretty neat—albeit some were too CG-y.  The long and short of it is that this movie is a popcorn film.  There’s not much depth to it and it’s fairly simple in its construction.  There’s nothing wrong with that because we derive entertainment from all different levels on the spectrum and, for a popcorn movie, this one does its job fairly decently—but it’s definitely not without its problems.

Seems like cheating when the crew involves a real wizard.

I was going to put something in here that makes fun
of Eisenberg's Lex Luthor but he's taken enough
beating over that movie.
One of the biggest issues with this sequel is the fact it is really cartoon-y.  There’s some silly gags mixed in with the more flashy ones that fit the premise of the film but this goofier side was never more prevalent when it concerned that this movie includes Merritt McKinney having a twin brother.  While it’s obvious that Harrelson is having a great time playing this role—and there’s nothing inherently wrong with the performance—the whole nature of this beast is just that this is too silly and cheesy that it hurts the overall tone of the film and makes the entire feature feel like it doesn’t quite know what it wants to be.  Does it want to be something slick and cool like some magicians on the Vegas strip or does it want to be something more like the Amazing Jonathan?  Neither choice is really wrong for the film but trying to have both of them made the entire film look uneven and kinda odd.

A long lost twin?  Did this franchise turn into a long running soap opera this

The film also suffers from a lack of tension as the Horsemen’s plan never truly feels in jeopardy.  Sure, the story will make it look like they are failing but it never gives off a sense that they are.  We all know our heroes make it and save the day in our movies but for good drama there always has to be a tint of doubt clouding over.  It helps us cheer for our hero and makes the victory that much sweeter.  This film just didn’t have that because the movie is so bad at misdirection (which is kinda strange since it’s a movie about magic) that I always felt like every time it looked like someone was pulling the wool over their eyes that it was, in reality, just another part of the plan.

Don't make him angry...because of a character he plays in another movie isn't
too nice when he's angry.

The only other real downside that Now You See Me 2 has is the fact they very awkwardly force in a love angle between Franco and Caplan’s character—they clumsily added a love angle in the first one, too (if you remember).  There’s no chemistry between the two, they never really have any real substantial moments together but they throw in a quick moment of flirting and then they are making out in the end.  It felt tacked on and wholly unnecessary since it did nothing to develop the characters or make their already likability any stronger.  It just felt like an afterthought thrown in at the last moment.

To think, I used to not like this guy.  I was wrong for doubting you, Franco!

Now You See Me 2, overall, is a pretty cheesy and kinda predictable heist film that doesn’t quite have the charm that I saw in the first one but wasn’t a total waste of time either.  It has some moments and it can be fun at times but it’s not super memorable and is definitely held back by how silly it gets.  Without a doubt, though, my favorite aspect of the film was Lizzy Caplan’s character because she was very fun and brought some great humor to the feature—and since it was announced that Isla Fisher is coming back to reprise her role as Henley Reeves after sitting this one out due to pregnancy, we’ll see if we get the very entertaining Lula to come back for the series next installment.

She was the best!


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