Weekly Review: Now You See Me 2 (2016)

After spending a year in hiding, the four horsemen make their return, crashing the release party of a fancy new piece of technology. The tables turn, however, when they find they aren’t the ones pulling the strings.

I have always been really impressed with Now You See Me. The first movie was great. The reveal at the end was something I never saw coming, and that really sticks out to me. The actors played their roles exceptionally. It was one of my favorite releases of 2013.

When I heard that there was going to be a sequel, I was definitely skeptical. How could you possibly top, or even match, something that was so good in the first place? How can you impress an audience that is already familiar with the tricks? I can only imagine the struggle that went into the pre-production of this sequel.

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After finally watching Now You See Me 2, I can definitely say that the first film was better, but the sequel is still okay. After such a stunning reveal in the original film, Now You See Me 2 had to up the stakes. It had to take the characters we knew in a different direction. It had to be the same, but different. That’s a challenge.

Most of the original cast returned for this sequel, with the exception of Isla Fisher, who was unable to reprise her role due to her pregnancy at the time of production. A new character named Lulu was created for the sequel, played by Lizzy Caplan. The returning cast includes Jesse Eisenberg, Dave Franco, Woody Harrelson, Mark Ruffalo, and Morgan Freeman. A new addition to the cast is Daniel Radcliffe, who brings an interesting energy.

I didn’t have too much of an issue with the performances in Now You See Me 2. I think my biggest complaint in this regard would have to do with Lulu, the new character created to replace Isla Fisher in the four horsemen. It wasn’t Lizzy Caplan’s performance. It was how her character was written into the story. I didn’t feel it was necessary to write her character in as a literal replacement. As the story continued, it just seemed like she was there to fit a quota rather than as an integral part of the story. It was a shame.

Other than that, Now You See Me 2 is far more flashy than its predecessor. While the first film had originality and a fresh concept on its side, the sequel has a lot more style than substance. It is entertaining, but I would recommend the first film over it any day.

Reviews for Now You See Me 2 are mixed. A lot of critics have negative things to say. It holds a 34% on Rotten Tomatoes. One review I read and agreed with said that “the magic was gone,” and that’s a really good way to put it. Like I said earlier, the audience already knows the allure of the first film, and this sequel just doesn’t leave you with the same feeling.

Some reviews even say that the storyline for Now You See Me 2 is confusing. I will agree that there are a lot of things going on that audiences need to keep track of, and in the end, I’m not sure if the pay off is really worth it. This sequel has a way of putting a lot of things out there and then making you wonder what really happened. This could be considered a good thing or a bad thing, depending on the viewer.

For a one time watch, Now You See Me 2 is entertaining, visually stunning even. It’s definite eye candy, but not as delightful from a story aspect. There are some elements that even branch into the realm of ridiculous. They finish the film with an open ending, so a third film in the series is a very likely possibility.

If you were a fan of the first film, you may or may not find that Now You See Me 2 delivers the same magic. Check out the trailer below and see if it’s worth a try.

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