By Liz Lopez
Now You See Me 2, directed by Jon Chu, is the story of the Four Horsemen who have come out of hiding as they had done in the 2013 film Now You See Me. Although I was entertained by the first film, I did not quite enjoy this sequel as I had expected. Overall, it is good, but there are some scenes that seem a bit over the top and not quite believable. It does have an incredible cast, which is the big draw for me and perhaps many other film fans, but my favorite actors do as much as they can with the story created by Pete Chiarelli and Ed Solomon (Levity, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure) with the latter writer producing the screenplay. Solomon also wrote the screenplay for the 2013 film, but it was with Boaz Yakin and Edward Ricourt who also wrote the first story. Without any disrespect to the writer of Men in Black, my recommendation is to go view Now You See Me 2, but catch it at a matinee, or during the “value” or reduced admission fee, as there has been an announcement of a third film in the making at some point. The second part of my recommendation is to view the previous movie to help in understanding this one.
There are some very positive points of the story with the new cast, Lizzy Caplan (The Night Before, 127 Hours) whose performance is great as Lula, the new Horseman among the boys. The script she has to work with for her character is good and she certainly delivers, especially when they are working as a team in securing a microchip that the villain, Walter Mabry (Daniel Radcliffe) has them doing the dirty work for him, “or else”. Caplan has a few films and many television series credits to her name, but after this, she is someone that I will watch to see as her career is placed into higher gear. Radcliffe is convincing enough as an entitled brat and I doubt anyone will have a problem disliking the character.
Returning cast include Jesse Eisenberg as J. Daniel Atlas, Mark Ruffalo as Dylan Rhodes, Dave Franco as Jack Wilder, Michael Caine as Arthur Tressler, Morgan Freeman as Thaddeus Bradley, David Warshofsky as Agent Cowan, and Woody Harrelson as Merritt McKinney, as well as performing as his estranged brother, Chase. It is hard not to enjoy Harrelson in his comedic role, even as a bad guy.
New to the Now You See Me: The Second Act (as it was also known as) is Jay Chou as Li, Sanaa Lathan as Deputy Director Natalie Austin, Tsai Chin as Bu Bu, William Henderson as Young Dylan, Richard Laing as Lionel Shrike, and Henry Lloyd-Hughes as Allen Scott-Frank, among the huge audiences of Horseman fans. They are all good in their performances, however brief they are for some.
My one big criticism is at the end when the sound and music is so loud, it is impossible for me to hear what Thaddeus Bradley is stating and may well be a hint for the next film. I love the music in films, but it should not over power this veteran actor’s voice.
Now You See Me 2 is rated PG-13 for violence and some language. This opens nationwide on June 10th.