"Now You See Me 2" Movie Review
Some sequels fall short of their predecessors, others rise above, but this one stays slightly beneath. It is entertaining and fun, but overall is unable to outperform the first. It's not a bad movie, it just could have been much better.
The film starts off with a flashback to the 80s when Lionel Shrike is performing his final show. Dylan is present and witnesses his father's death. This vaults us forward to present day when Dylan is still posing as an FBI agent pursuing the Horsemen. A new plan is set into motion, but soon it all falls apart.
Several new characters are introduced, including Lula (played by Lizzy Caplan), Natalie Carter (played by Sanaa Lathan), and Walter Mabry (played by Daniel Radcliffe). Chase McKinney is also a new character, who is the twin brother of Merritt McKinney, both played by Woody Harrelson. Lizzy Caplan takes over for Isla Fisher, who had to drop out due to her real-life pregnancy. Lizzy brings some fun, fresh comedy to the female lead, but Isla had a confidence and sense of control that just couldn't be replaced. Sanaa Lathan fills in for Melanie Laurent's absence, but just isn't as impressive. Of course the two played complete opposites, but Sanaa couldn't convince me whereas Melanie was spot-on. Daniel Radcliffe surprised me with his role as the film's villain. He's usually the good guy, the convicted hero. He pulls off mastermind villainy quite well, and was one of the highlights of the film. The real star, however, was Woody Harrelson. It's not easy playing two characters, especially when those characters nowhere near similar.
The story was good, and there was plenty of action and comedy, but there was something vital missing. There was no mystery or suspense. Almost every raised question was answered immediately and nothing was left to the imagination. It was as if the writers just wanted to cash in on the first, but didn't care to make it any better than the first.
In conclusion, Now You See Me 2 is not a bad film but it also isn't the spectacle that the first was. It holds back for some reason, when it should have fired on all cylinders. It's a fun film and I do recommend seeing it, but don't expect greatness.
© 2016 Nathan Jasper