Both Sides Are Actually Using Science
Now You See Me 2 (2016) is, shockingly, the sequel to Now You See Me (2013). The first film was a mediocre movie about Jessie Eisenberg, Isla Fisher, Woody Harrelson, and Dave Franco fighting injustice as magicians. The sequel is Jessie Eisenberg, Lizzy Caplan, Woody Harrelson, and Dave Franco fighting injustice as magicians. If you liked the first one, you’ll probably like the second one. If you are good at watching movies closely, you’ll figure out what is going to happen really early in the movie, and you’ll be sort of bored.
Speaking of good, there is some decent performance in this movie, and the villain does a good job of seeming threatening. As you know, it’s Daniel “Please Don’t Call Me Harry” Potter (Oh, whoops, I mean Radcliffe) playing against type as a sociopath who wants to be able to spy on the world. Of course, this being a sequel to a movie that lived and dies on twists, this isn’t the only thing to know about him. The Horsemen return to do their speechifying about social issues while doing illusions (tricks are what a whore does for money.. or cocaine). The magic, as with the first, is the best part of the show. The tricks are generally inventive, have really good set ups and payoffs, and do a great job of keeping you invested in the movie. Lizzy Caplan also does super necessary work, replacing Isla Fisher and creating a pretty nice little reverse power dynamic with James Franco. Why there is only one female magician in the world at any given time is amazingly weird, but I am glad that they gave her the gross out magician, which is an improvement over magician’s assistant Fisher.
The bad things in this movie, however, are really bad. The music in the first half is overbearing, attempting to make you FEEL EVERY FEELING, and KNOW WHAT IS GOING ON, when any average viewer can track it. There is one occurrence of diegetic music in the film, and it actually worked really well. Do that more please. The twists and turns feel less earned this time, and cast doubt over the whole of both movies, giving motivations and ideas that don’t make sense for all the characters involved. The movie is generally boring, which makes one long for Mark Ruffalo to turn big and green and just start smashing everything in sight. If you didn’t care about these characters from the first one (and I was shocked that they actually had names), you’re not going to learn more about them now. Oh, and they forced Woody Harrelson to play against himself as his own twin brother. Next time, and this is just a suggestion, get an “actor” to play his “brother” and then it won’t be uncanny valley hell, but sure, it’s a little fun to watch him insult himself, and balltap himself, repeatedly. It gets less fun the more it happens though.
So, in conclusion, watch this movie in the background, and every time you feel exposition coming on, look away. It’s like a good heist movie, in that you only really need to watch the heist. Then, go back to playing on your phone.
A little housekeeping
Those of you who voted in my Facebook Poll to force me to see Warcraft! I will be seeing it this week. I had people express interest in seeing it with me, so I am going to try to make that happen. At least they didn’t have to watch this with me.