Magic is so Not in the Air for this "Now You See Me" Sequel
Now You See Me 2
A Year Ago
One year ago (three years in real time, one year in movie time). That film worked well on multiple levels as it rushed pell-mell from start to stop. So, yeah, that one really hit it out of the park, as it delivered a first-rate story, great acting, and characters that we want to see win all the way throughout the entirety of the film’s running time. Yup, that was one seriously good film; chock-a-block full of drama, humor, and slam-bang action. Unfortunately, they made a sequel, which was — for all intents and purposes — a budget in search of a plot. Mores the pity, we were actually hoping for a real movie.
Now You see Me 2 Trailer
What Went Before
So, last time out, after outwitting the FBI (with the help of full-time FBI field agent, part-time magician, intermediary for The Eye (a super-secret world-wide consortium of magicians) Dylan Rhodes, (Ruffalo) helped the four Horsemen (a group of former street musicians and hustlers who were elevated to Vegas-level showmen and self-styled Robin Hoods) win the public's adulation with their Robin Hood-style magic spectacles. Well now, the Four Horsemen have resurfaced for their comeback performance in hopes of exposing the unethical practices of a tech magnate.
A Gathering of Horsemen
The Four Horsemen
Unfortunately for the Horsemen, things go (slightly) awry and they wind up getting spirited off to Macau, China (the gambling capital of the Eastern world). As it turns out, the man behind their vanishing act is none other than Walter Mabry (Daniel Radcliffe yes, the former boy wizard is a magician in this film), a tech prodigy who threatens the Horsemen with exposure and worse and forces them into pulling off their most impossible heist yet. Their only hope for redemption is to perform one final, unprecedented stunt to clear their names and reveal the mastermind behind it all.
Too Much Action, Not Enough Story
Now to our problems with this film. As stated at the onset, we were really a big fan of its predecessor (seeing it as something of a guilty pleasure). Its razzle-dazzle action, metric tonne of misdirection, fancy camera work, and nonsensical dialogue were fun, upbeat, and truly a wicked amount of fun. Unfortunately, here all of that mischief and tom-foolery is amped up to the Nth degree because somebody who had authority over the budget apparently thought that was the best part of the film and told the writer (if there actually was one) that that was the best part of the previous film, and you know, not the interactions between the characters.
A Wizard is Among Us.
Story is King
Sure, sure, we go to see movies (especially movies like this) because they are pretty, fast-moving, and engage our frontal lobes, however that may be what gets us into the theater, but it really is story, character development, and engaging the audience on a primal level are actually the things that not only keep us in our seats but bring us back into the theater each week. Yeah, action is fine, but Story is King, and the dwellers over there in Hollywoodland who are actually in charge of our entertainment choices, would do well to remember that. Having said all of that, we do understanding that sometimes that some folks do enjoy fast-paced films with quick camera cuts, all of that is simply icing on the cake that is story and character.
It's All in the Wrist.
A Baseball Metaphor
So, sorry, Hollywood, but this this one was nothing more than a big fat swing and a miss.
Now You See Me [DVD + Digital]
NOW YOU SEE ME pits an elite FBI squad in a game of cat and mouse against "The Four Horsemen," a super-team of the world's greatest illusionists. "The Four Horsemen" pull off a series of daring heists against corrupt business leaders during their performances, showering the stolen profits on their audiences while staying one step ahead of the law.
© 2016 Robert J Sodaro