A very short review of “Now You See Me 2” (2016)

My enthusiasm for “Now You See Me’s” hero magicians waned just a bit after seeing last year’s sequel.  It was fun enough, though, so I’d give it a 7 out of 10.

Much of my enjoyment was hampered here by the use of an overly convenient plot device that was also utterly ridiculous — one of the “Four Horsemen” protagonists can simply employ hypnosis to persuade anybody to do anything.  It seems like a godlike power, and it feels like a pretty big cheat on the part of the screenwriter.  (I think anyone familiar with hypnosis knows it absolutely doesn’t work as depicted here, anyway.)

If even one of the protagonists has this ability, why do they need to employ legerdemain to commit or stop crimes in the first place?  Instead of disguises or sleight-of-hand, couldn’t they just program unwilling confederates to do everything for them, at minimal risk to themselves?  And why steal anything in a conventional sense, if they can just brainwash a target into “giving” it to them?

Like the first film, though, “Now You See Me 2” is entertaining, if you take it as an escapist fantasy.  It’s still a pretty creative premise, and it’s still nice and funny.  (The exception is a bunch of jokes connected with a twin brother for Woody Harrelson’s character.  The character, also played by Harrelson, was annoying and creepy enough to make me cringe.)

One nice addition to this film was Lizzy Caplan as the new female “horseman”  after the departure of actress Isla Fisher.  Caplan is charismatic and fun to watch, and she has good comic timing.

I’d recommend seeing this, if you enjoyed the first movie.






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