Now You See Me 2 is such a disaster on a script level that even a couple of fun performances don’t even come close to making this thing watchable.
Getting into a plot description about this film is a foolish endeavor because nothing makes a damn lick of sense. Everything the characters spout sounds like nonsense and there are too many instances of the film’s “magic” literally being magic; impossible in the realm of science as we know it. They try to root a lot of it in real-life, but every time it breaks this reality it ruins everything it set up before it. There is no fun in magic that is just a CGI or impractical illusion. But what about that plot description? The Horseman have been underground for the last year, Henley (Isla Fisher) has left the group and their leader, Dylan, has been sending the FBI on wild goose chases looking for the Horseman (yet somehow maintains his high standing in the bureau even though he has openly acted incompetent this whole time). The Horseman are brought back into the public eye, by the Eye (this anonymous Eye that is guiding all of these decisions is so f’ing dumb story wise), to bring down a tech company that is going to violate everyone’s privacy with their latest launch. But, the Horseman are out played by, SPOILER, the Eye, which outs Dylan to the FBI and sends the whole crew international so they can become a better team, while manipulating the supposed bad guys as well so that it all works out at the end. Does that make sense? Over course not, but that is the big “reveal” of the film.
God I hated this movie, and I was a fan of the first one. It was dumb fun, for sure, but it at least felt somewhat coherent. This time, the script completely over complicates itself and then tries to make everything all part of the plan, and it just makes everything feel so dumb and pointless, there is no way this was the best way to carry out this plan. The whole conceit of the Eye is just a baffling piece of mythology that is never explained, but we are just supposed to trust that this organization is all powerful. The film and the characters hold the Eye with such earnest reverence, but the viewer has no idea why, which leads to their awe to fall on deaf ears out in the audience. Plus, SPOILER, the reveals around Morgan Freeman in this film are completely illogical and make no sense other than the fact the script is so obsessed with BIG TWISTS! It’s so, so bad.
No one is probably reading this anymore, as I think I have clearly scared anyone with any hope of Now You See Me 2 (where was the “Now You Don’t” title?) being good, but Daniel Radcliffe and Lizzy Caplan deserve mention for making the most out of this disaster. Radcliffe is clearly having a blast and hamming it up as the bad guy, Walter, but the script forgets about him after his big reveal. Radcliffe gets a couple good bits in the back half of the film, but the script had to connect Walter to Michael Caine’s character from the first film and Caine gladly shows up and phones it in for a paycheck, taking screen time away from Radcliffe. Caplan is a burst of energy from start to finish in this film, the only person who seems to know how stupid and fun this movie should be played as. I’ve always liked her, and it is a shame she gives such a good performance in such a terrible movie. Woody Harrelson gets to have some fun too, playing a goofy twin character to his established Merritt, but even he feels like he could have given us a bit more out of that role which has zero purpose in the film in the first place.
I’m not going to waste any more words on Now You See Me 2 than I have to. This is a terrible film and even if you appreciated the first film in any way you should avoid this thing at all costs. It’s not even worth watching for free at home. The film tries to throw so much at you that you will feel confused and lost, hopefully making you think the film is smarter than you, but it’s not, it makes no sense whatsoever, and was a waste of time for anyone involved with the project.