Review: ‘Now You See Me 2’ is (Slightly) Better Than the First One

The sequel that should have been called Now You Don’t is slightly better than the first Now You See Me. That’ll either have you super excited or completely uninterested in this follow-up. Hopefully you’re the former, because that means you’ll happily forgive some preposterous and downright stupid stuff in order to see some pretty nifty set pieces.

The film wastes very little time getting to The Horsemens’ first grand trick: a very cool infiltration scene that combines sleight-of-hand, hypnotism and misdirection. They then find themselves in China for some reason (get used to that trope) before being forced into another grand infiltration.

Why is this all happening? It’s as simple as this: someone doesn’t like The Horsemen and wants them to steal an important thingy about technology and privacy and stuff. There’s little else to chew on, story-wise, and what’s left just feels like time-filler – especially a dull subplot involving Mark Ruffalo’s character.

Adding to the returning cast list is Isla Fisher’s replacement Lizzy Caplan, playing a new recruit whose character is a lot like a shell game – you don’t know if what she’ll say next is funny, annoying or about how badly she wants to bone Dave Franco (who can blame her?). Daniel Radcliffe does well as a smarmy douche and Woody Harrelson gets a second role as an evil twin brother, dishing out more ham than a luncheon factory.

The characters’ light-hearted jokiness helps get us to the good stuff, like an incredibly slick scene where the four hide a computer chip on a playing card and flick it back-n-forth to dodge security. The finale is also entertainingly absurd in a Fast & Furious kind of way; it’s like seeing Vin Diesel cut an entire city in half with a saw and explaining exactly how he did it.

‘Now You See Me 2’ Movie Times

Cool Films With Illusionists: The Illusionist (2006), The Illusionist (2010), The Prestige