One year after outwitting the FBI and winning the public’s adulation with their Robin Hood-style magic spectacles, The Four Horsemen resurface for a comeback performance in hopes of exposing the unethical practices of a tech magnate. The man behind their vanishing act is none other than Walter Mabry, a tech prodigy who threatens the Horsemen into pulling off their most impossible heist yet. Their only hope is to perform one last unprecedented stunt to clear their names and reveal the mastermind behind it all.
1080p, 2.40:1 aspect ratio, Dolby Atmos (True-HD Compatible)
2016, Rated PG-13, 2 hours, 9 minutes
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco, Daniel Radcliffe, Lizzy Caplan, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman
Directed by: Jon M. Chu
I was delighted to get a chance to review the movie Now You See Me 2. I really enjoyed the first one, and with the way it ended, you knew a second was not far in the offing. In this installment, Thaddeus Bradley is set to get back at the Horseman (sporting a new female lead named Lula) by tricking them at their own game. As the plot moves on, the twists seem to come at every turn, adding excitement and intrigue to the experience. FBI Agent Dylan Rhodes maintains his position at the bureau, despite also being the link between the Horseman and the Eye. It’s a new perspective on the character as you didn’t know that he was working both angles in the first film. This is even more important when Daniel Atlas decides that he doesn’t need Dylan anymore, and will lead the team himself. He finds and speaks to the Eye on his own and is even encouraged by what he hears the Eye tell him – that his time was coming.
Arthur Tressler also returns to exact a measure of revenge, and even engages Thaddeus to assist. Eventually the Horsemen get a taste of their own medicine. They are called out at one of their shows and even the apparently dead Jack Wilder is revealed to still be alive. At that point things turn sour for the Horsemen, as they have become wanted men (and woman). As they make their getaway, they are instantly (magically, perhaps?) transported to Asia to meet a tech prodigy named Walter Mabry. Daniel Radcliffe brilliantly portrays the eccentric mogul who forces the group to perform another of their theatrical robberies but this time for his benefit. He is after an extremely powerful decryption device that is protected by the one of the best security systems in the world. So, the Horsemen must plot to somehow regain this item, while also figuring out a way to restore their names.
The best part about this caper is the continually evolving understanding of who is “good” and who is “bad”. I would have thought after the first movie that certain players had already been established as one or the other, but that is not necessarily the case. I really enjoyed being taken on the bumpy ride of who’s who. The other interesting theme from the film is learning more about Lionel Shrike, his ill-fated trick in the safe, and how motivated his son. The traumatic event that would shape Dylan’s life is critical to the story, and done exceptionally well. Of course, when you add the illusions on top of illusions it makes for a highly entertaining film.
The film is presented in it theatrical 2.40:1 wide screen format. The visual look of the film plays very well into the theme of illusion. Swift camera movement at key points definitely emulates the sleight-of-hand motions a magician uses. There is also an overall air of darkness most of the film, which adds to the feeling that you are being kept somewhat in the dark on many key points. I definitely appreiciated this effect.
The Dolby Atmos soundtrack was wonderful. Simple things are what really make this type of soundtrack shine, such as when they fling a playing card and the sound of it whizzing by your ear is detailed and clear. The apparent rain shower during Atlas’s performance on the square is another great use of the ceiling channels. Couple that with a wonderful score, and I definitely thought the audio portion of the presentation was top notch.
Now You See Me 2 is certainly a worthy successor to the original. There were so many plot twists that it almost got to be a bit much, but by the time the credits rolled I was thoroughly satisfied with the conclusion. acting. I would definitely recommend the film to anyone who enjoyed the first one, but would also suggest that the first be required viewing before embarking upon this episode. All in all, a worthwhile adventure!
- Audio Commentary by Director Jon. M. Chu
- “You Can’t Look Away” Featurette
- “The Art of the Ensemble” Featurette
- “Bringing Magic to Life” Featurette