“Are you listening, horsemen? You will get what’s coming to you. In ways you can’t expect. “
Surprisingly this movie was actually quite good.
I know, I was just as surprised as you will be by that point.
The first Now You See Me was cute, clever and unexpected. Not great, but entertaining fare. You would think a sequel that was clearly never really planned would not as enjoyable as it was probably pushed out as a quick cash grab without much planning…and yet, this was good, possibly even better than the first.
So we last left off with our lovable magicians The 4 Horseman and their leader FBI Agent Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) have just entered the secret organization the Eye after having achieved vengeance for the death of Rhodes’s father. Number 2 picks up a year later with the Horseman down a magician and the other three waiting for instructions. Now they’re down I assume not because of plot reasons but probably because actress Isla Fisher decided to not reprise her role, which was a point I was worried about…but almost immediately this is addressed in the film and given an excellent excuse for why she isn’t there that fits with the previous plot and fits well as part of this movie’s plot. When they finally do receive their instructions from The Eye in taking down another corrupt businessman they find that they too are being set up by someone else. Enter Daniel Radcliff as not a magician but as a creative tech mogul out to have the Horsemen steal something for him before extracting his own revenge. What follows is a little bit of the first film. A little bit of a Burn Notice episode, and some pleasantly unexpected character arcs that were sorely missing from the first movie as the Horsemen try to get back on top.
But not only was the story original by Hollywood standards and not just a repeat of the first movie with the same jokes, conflicts, and problems. So while I would be hesitant to call it truly original, but it wasn’t just a rehash of the same movie. And with this they left open the possibility of a third movie which might go down a road that charts new territory as this one didn’t just copy the first one.
Another highlight was that Radcliff actually was able to pull off a believable villain. I’ll be honest in the past I have seen less than a spectacular range from Radcliff and while this is not exactly Oscar quality, he pulled off for the first time a character I could tolerate in something other than a children’s film.
Not to say that this movie was not without its problems. While they covered where Fisher’s character went, there was no word on where the Interpol agent who was so central to the plot from the first movie was…although one could see that she could still be in a third movie if they go that far without any real problems to the plot. Further while an attempt at being clever, giving the Woody Harrelson character a twin brother…it didn’t ruin the film but it did feel forced. Finally the movie does have Mark Ruffalo which means you will be treated to a somewhat sanctimonious moments of leftist power to the people drivel, but it is possible to just ignore these flaws and move on.
Overall the film was well above my very limited expectations and was enjoyable throughout. Final Grade B-.