‘Now You See Me’ is part of famous phrase used by Magicians ” Now you see me, now you don’t” which came from the various magic tricks that they performed in which they used to make things disappear in thin air including themselves.
The title of the film was apt for the first installment of this franchise which was exciting, gripping and edge of the seat drama with the audience involved in what the magicians will do next.
This second installment lacks style and substance but is drunk on technology, and fancy sleight of hand techniques of the four horsemen (there is one change the lady horseman of the previous movie is replaced by another by the name of Lula-Lizzy Caplan in fine form) who are trying to learn each others tricks, there is little magic.
The movie starts with a background narrative by Morgan Freeman whose character Thaddeus Bradley was incarcerated in the end of the last movie and suggests getting even with the five as now he knows who their leader is.
The horsemen are restless to surface back and they get an opportunity in the launch of a Smart phone by the company called Octa which has developed a superchip which Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) learns will enable company to hijack all the data of all the users and upload into its own server and thus have a monopoly on everything from manipulation of the stock markets to control over military computers and he has also learned that the developer intends to sell that to the highest bidder.
Its right time for the horsemen to surface with a dramatic re-entry so they plan to hijack the show and tell the world the truth about the the company. All is going well until something goes horribly wrong and someone takes control of their show and the FBI who has been looking out for these four for the last eighteen months. All the while Dylan as an insider is throwing off their scent and is informed about them and they have to run as they all are exposed along with Dylan as their leader.
They reach the roof top of the theater and jump in the tube arranged for them to escape and land up straight in Macau, China where they are accosted by Merritt McKinney’s twin bro (wow, as if one was not enough Woodey Harrelson in an irritating double role), and takes them straight to man boy (as aptly commented by woodey’s character in the movie) boss Walter Mabry (Daniel Radcliffe – not suited for the part) who tells them to steal the chip for him as it was his brainchild which was taken over by his partner in Octa for which he was thrown out of the venture.
In the meantime Dylan is also on the run and is desperate to find out the whereabouts of the horsemen for which he visits Thaddeus in jail who accepts the offer to help in lieu of his release from prison. Both go to Macau, while among the horsemen, J. Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg – brilliant as usual) assumes the leadership of their group and accepts the challange to steal the chip and hand it over to Walter.
Atlas has his own agenda and contacts the eye so that he can handover the chip. As they need supplies they go to the oldest magic shop in the world which is run by the Chinese duo of grand mom Bu Bu (Tsai Chin) and grand son Li (Jay Chou).
The chip stealing scene is one of the best in the movie albeit a bit stretched. Atlas is waiting for someone to come from the eye to get the chip, in the meantime Dylan and Thaddeus also land in Macau in search of the horsemen and go straight to the magic shop where they are informed that Atlas would be waiting for someone in the market nearby, he also finds out his father’s secret orders placed with the shop including the prototype of the safe in which he actually drowned, also the watch specially ordered by his father .
Thaddeus disappears from there leaving a challenge for him where Dylan meets Atlas in the market where Atlas is saved from Walters goons and lets himself be captured and taken to a ship along with his father’s safe on a ship where it is revealed that Walter is the illegitimate child of Arthur Tressler ( Michael Caine) whom the the four had finished off in The first movie , all this elaborate plan was to draw them out and take revenge.
Dylan is packed in the safe and thrown in the sea, Thaddeus is seen making deal with Tessler and promises to inform him of horsemen’s next move. The horsemen save Dylan when he is able to open the safe with a device from the watch which opens the back of the safe. Now to get even with the Father-son unholy alliance they devise a plan which will bring them out in the open.
So a series of road shows are planned on the streets of London following a certain pattern, which is discovered by Walter who plans to cut them off before they expose him. The FBI ALSO gets the wind of it all the actors are there for the buildup towards the climax.
But wait, there is a twist in the tale and the deception is on the villains with the horsemen spoiling their party and have them exposed before the world on the new years night.
The climax is a fantastic diversion or illusion for the badmen, and is well orchestrated by the good five (remember the horsemen are now joined by Dylan here). The secret of the eye is also revealed, which we would not spoil the suspense by naming. But in the end all differences get ironed out and the chaos and confusion of the climax is cleared and explained well.
Overall I would rate it a rung below part 1 for the simple reason the story and the screenplay was more plausible. The villain is shown as a evil genius but hardly registers, Michael Caine seems past his prime and is also wasted here. The end is like any Bollywood movie climax and lacks novelty.
Click on the Thumbnails for ENLARGED images:
Jesse Eisenberg as J. Daniel “Danny” Atlas
Mark Ruffalo as Agent Dylan Rhodes and leader of The Four Horsemen
Woody Harrelson as Merritt McKinney
Dave Franco as Jack Wilder
Daniel Radcliffe as Walter Mabry (Arthur Tressler’s son)
Lizzy Caplan as Lula May
Jay Chou as Li
Sanaa Lathan as Agent Natalie Austin
Michael Caine as Arthur Tressler
Morgan Freeman as Thaddeus Bradley
Henry Lloyd-Hughes as Allen Scott-Frank
David Warshofsky as Agent Cowan
Ben Lamb as Owen Case
Tsai Chin as Bu Bu
Richard Laing as Lionel Shrike (Dylan Rhode’s father, a magician who drowned 30 years ago
Production company – K/O Paper Products, TIK Films
Directed by Jon M. Chu
Produced by Bobby Cohen, Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci
Screenplay by Ed Solomon
Story by Peter Chiarelli, Ed Solomon
Based on Characters by Boaz Yakin & Edward Ricourt
Music by Brian Tyler
Cinematography – Peter Deming
Edited by Stan Salfas
Now you See Me 2, movie review