"Ok, I'll start beatboxing then the rest of you, get ready to dance!" The modified famed magicians/thieves known as the Four Horsemen – Jack Wilder (Dave Franco), Lulu (Lizzy Caplan), Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg) and Merritt McKinney (Woody Harrelson) – take notice of unfamiliar surrounding in a scene from NOW YOU SEE ME 2. Credit: Jay Maidment © 2016 Lionsgate Entertainment/Summit Publicity.


KEY CAST MEMBERS: Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco, Lizzy Caplan, Daniel Radcliffe, Jay Chou, Tsai Chin, Michael Caine, Sanaa Lathan, David Warshofsky, Ben Lamb and Morgan Freeman

WRITER(S): Ed Solomon and Pete Chiarelli (story); Ed Solomon (screenplay); Boaz Yakin and Edwin Ricourt (characters)


THE STORY AS BEST WE KNOW IT: Remember the Four Horsemen, the world's greatest illusionists who also happened to rip off insurance magnate Arthur Tressler (Michael Caine) and then frame magician critic Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman) for the crime? Well, they look a little different now. Sure, FBI agent/group leader Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) is back as is wannabe group leader Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg). So are hypnotist Merritt McKinney (Woody Harrelson) and his apprentice Jack Wilder (Dave Franco) who was last seen faking his own death ... But since Henley Reeves (played in the first film by Isla Fisher) dumped Atlas, she's gone. Fortunately or unfortunately as it may be depending on who you ask, Rhodes has found a new enthusiastic female in Lulu (Lizzy Caplan) who is ready to step in and take her place. 

But what the Horsemen don't know is who is getting ready to turn a trick on them: Walter Mabry (Daniel Radcliffe), a British man who also faked his own death for a very specific purpose – and part of that purpose involves getting the Horsemen to steal a computer chip that can basically invade any computer in the world. They can refuse ... But given that whole "he'll kill them" thing, they decide to do the job. But if that weren't bad enough, the FBI is still after the Horsemen for their last little stunt in Vegas and new Deputy Director Natalie Austin (Sanaa Lathan) and Agent Cowan (David Warshofsky) are growing tired of Rhodes' "tips" that keep leading to nothing.

But if you think Bradley has been planning something to get his revenge, you don't haven't been paying close enough attention to figure out the next trick he has up his sleeve ...

WHO WILL LIKE THIS MOVIE THE MOST? People who enjoyed the first film or Ocean's 11 (the modern version); Woody Harrelson, Morgan Freeman and Lizzy Caplan fans; aspiring magicians; people just like "fun" movies

WHO WILL HATE THIS MOVIE THE MOST? Magicians who think movies like this cheapen their craft; people who find the movie too much like Ocean's 12 or 13; people who may find it hard to see Daniel Radcliffe in a role like this; people who don't like ensemble cast movies with (potentially) too many moving parts; anyone who cannot let go of their inner "who could pull all that off?!" critic to enjoy the world in which the film exists

SO IS IT GOOD, GREAT, JUST ALL RIGHT OR DOWNRIGHT AWFUL? Every once in a while, you see a movie where you think to yourself "This is kind of silly and implausible at almost every turn ... But in the world in which this exists, it is fun and they've done their best to make it so and make it somewhat make sense?" The film opening this weekend that fits that bill is Now You See Me 2, the film that Ocean's 12 really wanted to and should have been.

Within minutes, you clearly see why not only is 2's cast having fun, but why it's essential for the film to function and wouldn't without that happening. Be it Caplan shining as the over-the-top, just-happy-to-be-here new magician apprentice Lulu, Freeman doing his "dispense wisdom in my character's tone while still coming off with you can't help but like me charm" or Harrelson pulling double duty as both Merritt and his zany-yet-believable twin brother Chase, 2's cast goes for everything without trying to out do each other in the process. Caplan actually enhances each scene she's in whereas Harrelson once again shows his versatility by being able to pull off both calm and serious and dumb and fun in the same film distinctly for two distinct characters. Likewise, watching Daniel Radcliffe say and do things that Harry Potter would never approve of is a little hard to get used to at first, but eventually becomes entertaining enough its own right just because it's different than anything you've seen him do before. 

While the performances definitely matter, the driving force of the film that makes it remain interesting are the illusions the Horsemen pull off and the reveals of how they were executed. These are the scenes that seem to make the impossible possible, both in terms of a magic trick and in terms of making the movie work when neither should do so. Of course it helps that in revealing the tricks, the story's layers get revealed while constantly playing with the ideas of deception, slight of hand and of course, perception (both physical and in terms of why things are happening or happened). 

Now, of course, if you are still haunted by nightmares of watching Julia Roberts act like Julia Roberts because her character in Ocean's 12 was supposed to NOT be Julia Roberts but look enough like her to play the character, 2 may not quite be for you. The same goes if you examine every scene with a "oh now that's just ridiculous" nature, even when the film tries to extend you an olive branch to make it more palatable ... Then again, if you watched the first film, you should know what you're getting into already; this version just adds more tricks, more people and makes it a bit more enjoyable. 

Then again, if you didn't enjoy the first one, maybe now you shouldn't see this one, either.



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