Ugh. You gotta love corporate-mandated movies. You know, I actually kind of liked the first Now You See Me. Yes, it was a mess of a film, but in terms of mindless popcorn flicks it was actually pretty good! Plus any film that brings Jesse Eisenberg and Woody Harrelson together again immediately gets points in my book (I freaking love Zombieland) Really, this series as a whole is stacked with some of my favorite actors in the business, and when I heard they added Lizzy Caplan for the sequel, I was stoked. Caplan cannot star in enough things nowadays, and she steals the show here (even though there is a very unnecessary love story between her and Dave Franco).
But despite all the great actors, this film is an absolute dumpster fire. Why? Because, unlike the first film, it tries to be more than what it actually is.
The overall tone of this film is entirely too heavy. Unlike the first one, which was very playful and fun, The Second Act tries to actually give gravitas to these giant tricks our heroes are doing and it simply does not work. I could not get past the ridiculousness of this film because it basically said, “Oh, look at that! Wasn’t that amazing?” right after every trick. Then the film tried to explain everything. Ohhhh boy, when this film tried to reveal the curtain and explain everything, it completely lost me and everyone else in the theater. Not only that, it even tried to set up a sequel (more so than the original one did, at least).
There are so many problems with this film, but Caplan killed it as the “new” fourth horseman in basically every scene she was in. Additionally, Daniel Radcliffe had a blast in his role, putting in a hilarious and evil performance as he attempts to put his Harry Potter persona in the rearview mirror. If anything, this film set up the notion that Radcliff is up for whatever, which he had better be, because Swiss Army Man is right around the corner.
Beyond that . . . some of the cinematography was good, particularly during the magic sequences, but it was surrounded by shaky-cam effects in the chase sequences and a horribly choreographed motorbike sequence.