Now You See Me 2 is fun even when it cheats the magic

Lionsgate

Lionsgate

I probably enjoyed the first Now You See Me a little more than most people even when a lot of the illusions were more CGI than actual magic. The movie did well enough at the box office, but I was more than a little surprised when a sequel suddenly appeared, as if by magic.

Now You See Me 2 isn’t the most original title, but the film actually does manage to continue the story from the first film instead of just being a complete retread but with a different “victim.” Here, three of the Four Horseman have reunited — original Horseman Henley Reeves (Isla Fisher) is MIA — and “geek magic” specialist Lula (Lizzy Caplan) is recruited into the group to help expose some tech giant that uses his company’s devices to violate every privacy law on the books. They don’t realize, however, that their latest mark has ties to crazy magician/businessman Walter Mabry (Daniel Radcliffe), who has a huge secret of his own.

Now You See Me 2 is actually a pretty fun caper film with a scene of the team trying to steal a computer key card comparable to something from Ocean’s Eleven with a little bit of magical misdirection thrown in (that included the actors actually throwing a card with some CGI augmentation). There are some surprises along the way, especially with Mabry’s reveal, and Caplan and Radcliffe are enjoyable additions to the cast. There’s also a major revelation in the cantankerous relationship between Mark Ruffalo’s Dylan Rhodes and Morgan Freeman’s Thaddeus Bradley.

As for the main original cast members, Jesse Eisenberg is thankfully less jittery than usual, and Dave Franco gets to add a little roguish charm to his character. Woody Harrelson gets the bonus of playing his character’s twin brother, a role 180 degrees away from his original character.

The movie is very well put together by director Jon Chu and Ed Solomon’s screenplay will keep you guessing. The only real drawback is that when you have a movie about top notch illusionists, you shouldn’t cheat the illusions with obvious CGI effects like in the rain effect near the end. Those quibbles aside, Now You See Me 2 is actually a pretty fun movie.

The new Blu-ray from Lionsgate presents the film with a beautiful HD video transfer with a sharp, clear, colorful image, nice deep black levels, and fine detail. One scene set in an all white room is well balanced and never blown out. The Dolby Atmos audio track will give your home theater system a workout, especially if you have a 7.1 surround set-up. The disk also includes a feature-length audio commentary from the director that’s informative and entertaining. Overall, a great home video presentation to wow your senses and impress your friends.

The Blu-ray also includes a handful of extras:

  • The Art of the Ensemble (21:11) – A behind-the-scenes featurette with the cast talking about the joys of working together again and how new cast members meshed with the established ensemble.
  • You Can’t Look Away (17:14) – A look at the visual aspect of the film from creating the massive sets to shooting on location in Macau to how the final shot in the middle of the Thames was accomplished.
  • Bringing Magic to Life (16:09) – A look at the training the cast went through to perfect their illusions and how CGI was used in some cases to augment a trick, with the takeaway being that most of what you see on screen was done on set.

Now You See Me 2 (available on Blu-ray, DVD, 4K Ultra HD and Digital HD) may not be the greatest movie ever made, but — while being just a tad overlong at almost two hours and ten minutes — it’s still enjoyable enough with some satisfying plot twists and turns and some gorgeous cinematography and scenery. The cast works well together and Caplan and Radcliffe are wonderful additions to the ensemble. Put everything together and you have a pretty good popcorn movie.

Lionsgate generously provided a Blu-ray copy of the film for review.

Lionsgate

Lionsgate

 

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