Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman), framed by the magician-Robin Hoods The Horsemen and now behind bars, is looking for revenge. Meanwhile, The Horsemen are given orders by the mysterious magician activism syndicate The Eye to engage in their next caper.
This initialization of the plan is sequenced with wonderful pacing and wit. The plan itself is logical nonsense, but it sure is flashy, over-complicating things only to instigate conflict. Once this initial play is foiled, The Horsemen are kidnapped and forced to steal for Walter Mabry (Daniel Radcliffe).
Shoe-horned relationships replace character progression, making the return of the cast of characters seem less appealing. Dynamics between characters are introduced and continually reappear, but they don’t progress relationships, they merely stand in place of real connections between characters.
The heist that The Horsemen encounter is exciting, although needlessly complicated. One scene heavily utilizing a playing card is flashy and fun, but it is extended for the sake of tension when logically the actions make little sense. As with the original, the heist is layered with misdirect on top of misdirect until the final twist is revealed. Here, these twists are far less jaw-dropping and much more predictable.
Lizzy Caplan’s character is a workable replacement for Isla Fisher’s. Caplan’s charisma and cadence are a natural fit for the role, although the character is underdeveloped.
Radcliffe, too, is a good addition. He brings a surprising amount of comedy to the role early in the film, but where the character goes is limiting.
Now You See Me 2 is entertaining and flashy but with limited substance. It has far less narrative cohesion as its predecessor, leaving the pieces of the puzzle to fall into place a tad too predictably.
As always, thanks for reading!
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—Alex Brannan (@TheAlexBrannan)