Now You See Me 2: Not logical but definitely magical

The movie tries to fit itself into the same category of acclaimed theft movies but ends up falling short in comparison

Salman Junejo June 13, 2016
Now You See Me: The Second Act is a 2016 American heist movie directed by Jon M Chu of the Step Up series. In this movie, the quartet known fittingly by their stage name, Four Horsemen, are on the run after pulling off a robbery in a casino in Paris. 

These gifted Las Vegas illusionists played by actors Dave FrancoWoody HarrelsonJesse Eisenberg and Lizzy Caplan (substituting Isla Fisher from the prequel) must now expose the immoral and corrupt practices of a tech tycoon Walter Mabry played by Daniel Radcliffe. Walter is pressurising them to steal a device so powerful that it is capable of manipulating and controlling all the computers in the world and can decrypt any computer program on earth.

A bit too farfetched, right?

Woody Harrelson, Lizzy Caplan, Jesse Eisenberg, and Dave Franco.Photo: IMDb

When talking about The Second Act, it would be best not to look for logic in the plot but rather concentrate on the magic tricks (misdirection, mostly) and the cast performances.

This movie is more ambitious than its prequel in every way; every single stunt and act is grander and more spectacular, thanks to CGI effects. However, the mystery and wow element in it does not match the expectations that its prequel had generated, thus it may serve as disappointing. Don’t get me wrong! It’s there, but less in comparison.

Woody Harrelson.Photo: IMDb

The movie’s pace is also much slower. It takes time to unfold, introduce new characters and set the stage for the movie’s action and magical sequences.

Kudos to the acting prowess of the antagonist of the movie – Radcliffe delivers a commendable performance that is part comedic and part megalomaniacal, but fully entertaining. He does not waste his allocated screen time and makes each scene count.

Daniel Radcliffe.Photo: IMDb

One of the movie’s subplots is that of revenge. Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) swears a vendetta against Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman). But this revenge spree becomes so convoluted and overly complicated that at one point you can’t help but think that the movie would’ve been better off without this added story line. However, Freeman and Ruffalo reprised their roles splendidly as their performances are only second to none.

Morgan FreemanPhoto: IMDb

Mark Ruffalo.Photo: IMDb

If one wishes to enjoy this particular movie, they must put logic aside. After all, when we witness a magic trick, we subconsciously know that there is some kind of deception that we haven’t yet figured out and the same principle applies here.  This movie is far from perfect and coherent in its narrative, but it is a fun diversion that you will enjoy with your friends and family.

Woody Harrelson, Lizzy Caplan, Jesse Eisenberg, and Dave Franco.Photo: IMDb

I would have preferred the movie without that CGI overkill. It’s too in your face. But just when you think that this is getting out of hand and entering the realms of fantasy, the director manages to pull the proverbial rabbit out of the hat in order to keep the audience hooked.

Lizzy Caplan, Jesse Eisenberg, Henry Lloyd-Hughes, and Dave Franco.Photo: IMDb

Now You See Me 2 tries to fit itself into the same category of acclaimed theft movies such as Ocean’s Eleven (2001)Ocean’s Twelve (2004), Ocean’s Thirteen (2007) and The Italian Job (2003), but ends up falling short in comparison to these cinematic masterpieces.

Woody Harrelson and Dave FrancoPhoto: IMDb

Watch this movie for its fun yet logic defying magical acts, the glittery casino life of Macau and well-choreographed action sequences.

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Salman Junejo The author is an agriculturist by profession and runs an agriculture company by the name of GRJ AGRO(www, He has a family background in politics and agriculture. He tweets @salmanjunejo (
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.

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Hira Zameer | 4 years ago | Reply | Recommend by the looks of it, this movie looks cool will see once it gets a release in pk
Sahibzadi Malik | 4 years ago | Reply | Recommend Morgan Freeman & Mark Ruffalo these are two class acts. If only for them movie will be worth the hype in my opinion.
Rohima Amjad | 4 years ago I disagree, Daniel Radcliffe, Woody Harrelson are good performers and not to mention Sir Micheal Caine. So it has an all ensemble cast.
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