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One year after outwitting the FBI and winning the public’s adulation with their Robin Hood-style magic, the illusionists resurface for a comeback performance in the hope of exposing the unethical practices of a tech magnate. The man behind their vanishing act is none other than Walter Mabry, a tech prodigy who threatens the Horsemen into pulling off their most impossible heist yet. Their only hope is to perform one last unprecedented stunt to clear their names and reveal the mastermind behind it all...
The Four Horsemen return for a second mind-bending adventure, elevating the limits of stage illusion to new heights and taking them around the globe, in Now You See Me 2.
It's not overly important that you've seen the first movie, as this works as a standalone story in its own right, as well as adding another layer if you've seen the first film.
The movie opens with a flashback to Dylan Rhodes's (Mark Ruffalo) childhood, where he witnessed the death of his magician father when a trick he was performing goes horribly wrong. Back in the present The Four Horsemen line up has changed a little. Jack Wilder (Dave Franco) is presumed dead, so his involvement in the new mission is very much behind the scenes, and we have a new female member of the team in Lula May (Lizzy Caplan). Their mission is to unmask the corrupt businessman Owen Case's (Ben Lamb), whose software is designed to secretly steal personal data from the users of its new mobile phone. Part way into their very public exposure of the truth, The Four Horsemen realise they've been led into a trap.
They are captured and confronted by Walter Mabry (Daniel Radcliffe), a technology prodigy and ex-business partner of Case. Mabry had previously faked his own death in order to get back at his ex-business partner, who stole technology that they were both working on. By faking his death, Mabry planned to take down Case from the inside without it ever being know who was responsible. Mabry now wants the Four Horsemen to steal back the chip so that he alone will have access to the information stealing properties it contains.
The movie has numerous subplots that are neatly interwoven together. There's also an interesting and rather amusing addition to the cast in the form of Chase McKinney, who is Chase's brother. Both are played by Woody Harrelson, but you could easily be forgiven for seeing them as two actors.
Extras include the behind the scenes featurette You Can't Look Away (16 min, 30 sec) and audio commentary with director Jon M. Chu.
Highlights of the audio commentary include the revelation that a vast amount of blow up dolls where used in the background of one of the sequences that required a large crowd; Morgan Freeman telling the director to "pull up his pants"; that they filmed some scenes on a set that seemed to be haunted; the director pointing out the Freezing Rain trick in the magic shop that was adapted and used later in the movie as one of the big trick show pieces; the story of David Copperfield's private museum, which is only accessible via a hidden entrance at the back of a suit shop that is modelled on the suit shop his father owned; The fact that the spin on the classic Find the Lady trick was performed for real and the actor learned how to perform it; and the revelation that the director of the first movie, Louis Leterrier, directed some second unit scenes. There's also an amusing story about how Morgan Freeman came to the director concerned that his scene that day made no sense. After 20 mins of back and forth it was discovered that he had a page missing from his script.
The one quibble... While it's a very cool sequence, I couldn't fathom out why they needed to keep throwing the card backwards and forwards between each other in the vault sequence. Surely a few throws between each other would suffice, and then the card could have been placed somewhere already searched. It just seems overly long and overly complicated.
The movie showcases some impressive tricks and constantly performs slight of hand with the audience. As with the best magic, what you think you know is not always the truth. An enjoyable movie that's well worth picking up.