Friday, 10 June 2016

Now You See Me 2

Coming into this movie with very low expectations, I left pleasantly surprised and actually felt the $17.50 movie ticket was worth it in comparison to some other films I’ve seen this month. Also, being a big fan of the first film, I’ll try to keep my opinions as unbiased as possible. Try.

Now You See Me 2 (a.k.a Now You See Me: The Second Act) is the sequel to the 2013 film, you guessed it, Now You See Me. The film once again reunites us with the Four Horsemen, J. Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg), Jack Wilder (Dave Franco) and Merritt McKinney (Woody Harrelson), with replacement 4th member Lula (Lizzie Caplan) stepping in in the wake of Isla Fisher’s exit. In their latest adventure, the Horseman find themselves thrown into a new game and a new city, in which lies Walter Mabry (Daniel Radcliffe) who forcibly recruits them to help steal a profitable piece of technology from a rival company. After a year in hiding and doubting their overlords The Eye’s plans for them, the group are itching to have a chance at the limelight once more, however as always with magic tricks, things are not always as they appear to be.

The positives: Above everything, this film was fun to watch as the franchise has learned not to take itself too seriously. The storyline is full of twists and turns that helps to keep the audience engaged and entertained, as well as helping to stop it becoming a carbon copy of the last film, and definitely has its humorous moments that help break the tension. The film also addresses Fisher’s character Henley’s exit, rather than simply taking the easy route and sweeping it under the rug. There are also lots of nail biting scenes involving many new and improved tricks, including one inside a vault that really impressed me and that audiences will have fun with. All acting is essentially as it was in the first film, with Caplans’ ‘Lula’ adding a fun, flirtatious element that helps to contrast her with the rest of the mostly male cast and is the source of most of the humour. I also enjoyed seeing more of Mark Ruffalo’s character, FBI Agent Dylan Rhodes, acting like the son of a magician, i.e. doing magic tricks and understanding magic history.

The negatives: The bottom line is, if you didn’t enjoy the first film, you won’t enjoy this one. Although there are a lot of improvements between this and the 2013 release, the general atmosphere is the same. Some minor plot holes leave you with a bit of confusion once the credits roll. The ‘magic’ does lead to some unrealistic scenarios, just as in the first film, that the audiences are expected to gloss over because, well, magic. As well as this, I felt the ending was a little overdone and I would’ve been happier if the film ended 10 minutes before it did. Most annoyingly, the film attempts to address some issues surrounding sexism in a few scenes using Lula, only to completely negate their progress in the next by adhering to some pretty standard female tropes which was a bit of a let down and may be a little jarring for people who grew fond of the snarkier Henley compared to the fun-loving Lula.

Overall the film was a fun time that fans of the franchise will enjoy. The dazzling magic effects, entertaining characters and engaging plot do draw you in and make you remember why you enjoyed magic as a kid. If you’re looking for something in-depth and gritty, you won’t enjoy this film. But for a fun adventure movie, it has a lot to offer.

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