By Erika Ashley
The Horsemen are back and after about a year laying low, they are finally ready to confront and expose their next big business target. During their take down attempt an anonymous source hacks into their performance. Causing their act to be blown apart and revealing their entire group to the public. The group of Horsemen feel in a panic but end up across the world and held against their will. IN order to save themselves and ultimately the world’s security they are forced to obey their captor’s orders. To complete their goal, they must rely on one another by working together as a cohesive unit while new power struggles emerge. The group uses their quick wit and magic prowess to pull their biggest trick yet.
Surprisingly a majority of the original cast returns for this sequel in addition to a new female lead Lula, played by Lizzy Caplan. Some new and old villains come into play but overall the stacked cast does a decent job playing their original characters. An interesting spin on the group dynamic arises in the very first few scenes when Atlas, played by Jesse Eisenberg, brings his always anxious concerns about Dylan Rhodes, played by Mark Ruffalo, ability to lead the Horsemen directly to “The Eye.” Also, the Director - Jon M. Chu, uses the beginning scenes to address the fact that Henley, played by Isla Fisher, has moved on from the group and Lula, longtime fan, first time Horseman is taking her place. The group’s relationships shift and change and the audience can feel the tension grow, which in turn sets the stage for the conflict that follows through the film. The acting is decent like the previous film as the characters rely heavily on the CGI magic.
The storyline is fresh, as the Horsemen become pawns in their own vigilante scheme, but as predicted they only have one option to come out on top in the end. Getting there, however, takes far too long because there are far too many plot twists and B-stories weaved in. Not only does the story drag on but there really isn’t very much magic to get the viewers through the lengthy convoluted backstories. Towards the middle of the movie we finally get a five-minute scene where the Horsemen flick a playing around a room, which is only interesting to watch for maybe a minute then gets old quick. But, then the “real” worth-while magic tricks don’t come into play until about 4/5 of the way through. Then by the time the audience get what they came for, it’s done in the blink of an eye. The remainder of the film is spent explaining and unveiling all of the blatantly obvious clues through the movie.
Just like the Horsemen and the omnipresent “Eye” explain, you only see what you want. The effects and music are great and the action, although lacking are still top notch and what draws everyone in. But, the multi-layered conflict and overly complicated stories takes away from the film because the acting is sub-par at best. The film is lengthy reaching just over two hours and towards the third act you can feel it. Although there were a few hiccups and missteps, the magic – when you see it, almost just makes up for the mistakes.
I would suggest to see this film in theaters so you have a better chance of catching the foreshadowing and subtle hints sprinkled throughout the film. Then rent it when it comes out on Redbox or on-demand and you can see if you pick up on all of the clues.
Now You See Me 2 is rated PG-13 for violence and some language and has a 129-minute runtime.
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