“Now You See Me 2” follows the Four Horseman (Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco, Lizzy Caplan) as they return for a mind-bending adventure to perform a new stunt to clear their names and expose the unethical practices of a tech prodigy (Daniel Radcliffe). The film is directed by Jon Chu and overall, it seems as if fans of the first will rejoice in seeing the beloved characters once again, but critics find it surprising that they even made a sequel.
Owen Gleiberman of Variety, calls the film, “the kind of sequel that has all but gone out of fashion: a follow-up to a blockbuster so flaky and off-center that even those who made the original probably never expected it to spawn a second chapter.” He does become a fan of the overall excitement noting that, it “is more like a giddy piece of cheese from the ’80s, a chance to spend two more hours with characters we like, doing variations on the things that made us like them in the first place. The revisit, in this case, is well-earned, and fans of the original — as well as new converts — are likely to turn out in droves.”
The Hollywood Reporter’s Sheri Linden agrees that fans of the first will come out to watch. “Like the feature that kicked off the unlikely franchise, the new film should have no trouble razzle-dazzling a healthy share of popcorn dollars,” she said. “No less than in the glossy caper’s 2013 predecessor, the plot rides a surging tide of ridiculousness and culminates in a pileup of unconvincing explanations,” she adds critiquing the film. Linden’s bottom line: “More hard sell than abracadabra.”
The Wrap’s Dave White doesn’t seem to love or hate the sequel writing, “The magic-themed sequel is an even more absurdly implausible caper than the first, but so what?” He also points out Chu’s lighter touch on the film and cinematographer Peter Deming’s work that “positions most of the onscreen bodies in as much detailed darkness as possible, the better to minimize the utter ridiculousness of their actions.” He concludes by saying, “For their next trick, they make a next trick sound like an attractive prospect.”
“I have fond memories of Louis Leterrier’s cheerfully ridiculous 2013 caper ‘Now You See Me,’ but I didn’t really need another one,” writes The Sydney Morning Herald’s Jake Wilson. “The problem with this sequel is the problem with sequels in general, especially when it comes to the kind of storytelling that depends on gimmicks and surprises. How can you hope to astonish when you’re locked into repeating the same old tricks?” The film critic also notes that the director tries to distract audiences from a bigger problem, “Chu cuts between subplots as if shuffling a pack of cards, piling on the colour and movement in hope of distracting us from a near-total lack of substance.”
“Now You See Me 2” opens in theaters June 10.
Watch the trailer below: