2013’s Now You See Me proved a far bigger hit than most people expected, which has ensured we’ve now got a follow-up. After their Robin Hood exploits in the first movie, illusionists The Horsemen have been in hiding, waiting for ‘The Eye’ to tell them what they should do next. They also have a new member, with Lizzy Caplan’s Lula joining Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg), Jack (Dave Franco) and Merritt (Woody Harrelson), along with their leader, FBI Agent Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo).
They get an assignment to take down someone who’s destroying personal privacy, but their comeback goes wrong when they’re hacked, kidnapped and taken to Macau, China. There they meet Walter Mabry (Daniel Radcliffe), who tells them that it was largely his money they stole in the first movie, and that they now have to do his bidding if they want to live.
That leads them into an ever more complicated and dangerous world, involving a piece of technology that could change and manipulate the economy, and people who have a vendetta against the Horsemen, which includes Merritt’s twin brother, Chase. That eventually takes them to London and what could be their biggest performance yet, but Walter and others are out to stop them.
To ensure the ensemble fun continues, there’s also the return of Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine, as well as a welcome appearance by Sanaa Lathan.
Now You See Me 2 didn’t exactly get good reviews at the cinema, but it’s difficult not to think the critics – who didn’t like the first one either – missed the point. Yes, it’s big, dumb, ridiculously over the top and silly, and it’s double and triple crosses mount up to almost ludicrous levels, but it’s all done with a wink and it’s fun. With the plot, you almost need a flowchart to be able to completely follow who’s doing what to whom at what moment as everyone’s tricking everyone else every other second, but it’s all extremely good-natured and does well at keeping a smile on your face.
A lot of that is thanks to the chemistry between the cast members, who all appear to be having a complete blast with the movie. Lizzy Caplan is a particular good addition, bringing a great sense of humour and quirky style to the film. Daniel Radcliffe also makes for a surprisingly good villain, making a pretty convincing convivial sociopath with ice in his veins. He certainly seems to be enjoying himself playing a rather different role than we’re used to from him.
Admittedly, it doesn’t add up to an awful lot, and like a lot of heist movies, constantly flirts with taking things so far it’ll ruin suspension of disbelief and become utterly preposterous. However, it does know it’s a bit daft, but it owns it and rather like a magic show, admits its artifice while doing its best to keep you entertained and guessing what will happen next. If you like the first one, you’ll probably enjoy this one too, just don’t expect anything more than a couple of hours of silly fun.
The Blu-ray also includes some pretty good special features, which take a look at things such as the chemistry between the cast and how much of the magic was done live on set.
Overall Verdict: Ridiculously complicated and perhaps a little too long, but Now You See Me 2 has fun putting on its magic show and taking the audience along for the ride.
Reviewer: Tim Isaac