Hypothetical Netflix Rating: 3.6 out of 5 stars
If you haven’t seen 2013’s Now You See Me, obviously this review will do you no good till you’ve done that. Wrong. Now You See Me 2, is the better movie, so I’ll just sum the first one for you. Spoilers galore.
Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, and Dave Franco play magicians who, with their combined talents, become the Four Horsemen, and Robin Hood their way around the world using magic. All the while they’re being chased by Morgan Freeman, who’s made a career out of figuring out magic tricks, and Mark Ruffalo, who much to my chagrin is not riding a buffalo but instead is an FBI agent. This movie would have been better if he was on a buffalo. Anyway. It plays very much like an Ocean’s Eleven type movie, but with magic. The big reveal at the end of the first movie was that Mark “why can’t I be on a buffalo just once?” Ruffalo was in fact the magician who put the Four Horsemen together in the first place.
This movie is similar, only this time around, Isla Fisher is out, Lizzy Caplan is in. She was in Cloverfield, but I don’t hold that against her. Also, Daniel Radcliffe (Swiss Army Man) plays the movie’s villain, extorting the horsemen into doing his bidding. They also take the story to China and work in Woody Harrelson’s brother as a character. Okay, so it’s Woody in a wig, but still. He’s Daniel Radcliffe’s henchman and has the same set of “magic powers” bald Woody has, he’s a mentalist (hypnosis, mind reading, that sort of thing).
The major problem with the first movie was only half of the main characters got some kind of an arch. This time around, they fixed that problem, which was nice. So what was holding it back grabbing that hypothetical 4 out of 5? This movie is something we’ve already seen, but with magic in it, and if you’ve seen the first one, well, hopefully you haven’t so you can just watch this one instead.
And who knows? Maybe 3 years from now, Now You See Me 3, will come out. And there, mounted on the back of nature’s most majestic plains animal, Mark Ruffalo, triumphant on a buffalo.