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Jesse Eisenberg – J. Daniel Atlas
Woody Harrelson – Merritt McKinney
Lizzy Caplan – Lula May
Dave Franco – Jack Wilder
Daniel Radcliffe – Walter Mabry
Mark Ruffalo – Agent Dylan Rhodes / Shrike
Michael Caine – Arthur Tressler
Now You See Me 2 is what I call ‘glossy’; a lot of slick night-time shots that glimmer with shiny blues, blacks and sparkly outfits. There are nice views of Macau, China and the City of London too (seeing Lula May (Caplan) stood next to the Cutty Sark in Greenwich was a strangely familiar sight, I was only stood next to that ship myself a month ago).
Some scenes move at a great pace and are much better than others. Keep your eyes peeled for the ‘slick card trick’ scene – it’s just fantastic. In fact, I felt like I needed to keep my eyes on the screen for the entire duration or I would miss something. The magicians sneakily throw a card between each other (the card contains something important they have stolen) in front of aggressive security guards – without the guards even seeing. Sharp and sneaky to the point of being funny, this was my favourite scene.
This movie is pretty much constant in terms of action. Live indoor stage shows radiate the same buzzy atmosphere as a concert at the O2 (London), outdoor magic tricks at night are a nice touch as the Horsemen bring people in the streets together for some slick crowd pleasing. These scenes bring a much needed air of excitement amongst a sea of some dull (a-hem, Radcliffe) faces (a-hem, Caine, Freeman).
Caplan delivers some great one-liner’s and funny girl moments. Her presence on screen is both sexy and dynamic. She’s not a bad looking bird, and stood amongst four – often five – men ensures she stands out with her strong feminine role. She’s refreshing, entertaining. A very good choice of casting.
Towards the end of the movie when the Horsemen reveal how they’ve tricked one of the main characters, the climax is very good. In their classic, annoyingly cheeky manner they out the character to thousands of spectators by explaining step-by-step the process of how they pulled the situation off. This scene blends the element of surprise with humour and works entertainingly.
Ultimately you’re sat watching a bunch of magicians run around after a bad guy (Radcliffe) for most of the movie. The overall plot is simple, but there’s not much to it and it lacks dynamic. Added to this is the choice of bad guy; Radcliffe doesn’t quite cut it as the type of threatening character you’d expect to see in a story like this. He fits the age range well but has the appearance of a fluffy primary school teacher rather than dangerous technology tycoon.
The relationship between Agent Rhodes (Ruffalo) and the Horsemen is slightly irritating; he spends most of his time wandering around pining for them like a guy who just split from his girlfriend. “either join them or stop being such a pussy” I thought for most of the movie, Ruffalo is that irritating.
Now You See Me 2 is one of the more plain movies I’ve seen at the cinema. It just seems to happen, then finish. It’s not until the final few scenes that the real magic action kicks off, but by this point the movie is almost over.
That said, it beats the first movie by miles just with the use of exciting filming locations and a refresh of cast.
The movie is entertaining enough. It remains slick and puchy throughout, and is full of attitude. If you revel in the likes of Eissenberg and Franco swaggering their shit around the screen, I’ve no doubt you’ll lap it up.
Freeman and Caine add a dash of familiarity too, and having the Golden Oldies thrown into the mix ensures a bit of authentic talent (if ‘talent’ is the right word. As far as I’ve seen, in any movie, neither of the two seem to hold the ability to play a distinctive character who doesn’t sound or look like the actual actor himself, or even put on an accent).
This movie fills 127 minutes, and is entertaining enough. It’s no disaster, but then it’s no Oscar winner.