Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Now You See Me 2 (2016) - A Review

Now You See Me 2 (2016) is one of those sequels that makes you wonder if Hollywood will ever stop churning out part twos. The following review contains spoilers:

The Plot: In this part, the Four Horsemen finally resurface to the public, only to get involuntarily recruited by a tech genius to pull off an impossible heist.

The Analysis: To start with, not only was the movie's plot dumb, but every sequence seems disconnected to the central storyline. We have a starting scene of a flashback which leads to one of our main character's past dilemma. This forwards to Jesse Eisenberg's J. Daniel Atlas seeking out the Eye himself.

With these two points of offset, the viewer isn't sure which story to follow, which was not the case in the prequel. The first part was better in terms of incorporating mystery foremost then concluding with a twist ending. But with this second attempt, writer Ed Solomon showcased that he couldn't convince audiences of the bizarre idea that he and Peter Chiarelli came up with.

The characters aren't that intriguing either. Although, majority of the thespians playing them have given Oscar-worthy, and even Oscar-nominated, performances before. Morgan Freeman suited portraying Thaddeus Bradley but at his age he could play such roles in his sleep.

Literally, there's no shortage of talent here: Eisenberg is perfect as he was in the last film as Atlas, Mark Ruffalo is wasted as Agent Dylan (don't get me wrong, his acting was spot on), Daniel Radcliffe seemed like he was supposed to be on another set, Woody Harrelson played a dual act with finesse but ultimately it's just another double role, and Michael Caine appears out of nowhere like he just missed being in big-budget blockbusters.

But we have two saving graces for this one: Dave Franco as Jack Wilder, and Lizzy Caplan as Lula May. Both these figures brought a renewed fire onto the screen. I think Caplan served as a welcome addition to the ensemble. As Luna, she provided relevant comic relief when it was needed, and most of her antics diverted the attention from the other Horsemen's cheesy dialogues.

The direction by John M. Chu constantly made the film feel like it was a dance movie, with all the UV lights and such. So, I wasn't surprised at all to find that Chu helmed my favorite dance flick: Step Up 2 (2008). He also served as the director of G.I. Joe Retaliation (2013). Therefore, this exhibition came as a mix-up of two genres, comedy-action, but it played out more like a dance movie.

However, the afore-mentioned factor of playing out like a dance movie is not a negative one. Pacing is one of the foremost positive points for this picture. Even at a running time of 129 minutes, you never get bored with the swiftness of the shots, and if you're more into glamorous thrillers, then you won't even notice when the closure arrives.

There's one sequence I hold in highest regard and that was the laboratory scene where the heroic crew had to steal a chip, and they do this by pasting it on a card, which they pass along to each other. That sequence was the best one of Now You See Me 2. And I commend Mr. Chu for showcasing his directorial skills at that mark when I thought this movie comprised mostly of unoriginality.

Still, you can't help but get turned off by the serendipity of events that led to the happy ending for our protagonists. When the closing trick was revealed it came to me as no shocking revelation. Furthermore, the secondary storyline of Agent Dylan's grudge against Bradley was actually superior to the major scenario. And if the writer had made this the main plotline then the comprehensive experience would've been much better.

The Verdict: Overall, I recommend this movie to viewers watching strictly for entertainment purposes, but to me it was just another run-of-the-mill summer flick. In the end, Now You See Me 2 is all about what's on the surface with nothing much of value underneath.

The Rating: 1.5 out of 4. 

If you favor thrillers of better worth, then check out Masoom Thrillers #2:

It contains seven short-stories incorporating genres of vampire fiction to traditional tales of suspense. 

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