Now You See Me: The Second Act (2016) – Are you watching closely?

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Another overwhelming and flawless creation; The Second Act might not have performed as well as its predecessor at the box office, but some of those who have seen it believe its quality is even better. With many of the actors reprising their roles, the film also introduces Daniel Radcliffe as megalomanic villain Walter Mabry, as well as Horseman Lula (played by Lizzy Caplan). This mysterious, comedic heist thriller can only be described as the perfect adventure, whereby every act is part of a bigger, carefully drafted plan.

In this sequel to the 2013 film, Now You See Me, the Horsemen – Daniel Atlas, Merritt McKinney and Jack Wilder (Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson and Dave Franco) – are back in action. This time they are joined by Lula (Lizzy Caplan), who replaces former Horseman Henley Reeves (Isla Fisher). No explanation other than that she “wanted out” was provided for her parting, making it rather unexpected, but Lula’s comical appearance was nonetheless appreciated. The movie features action-packed and suspenseful scenes, as well as lighthearted and funny ones. One remarkable scene that audiences should look forward to is the “playing card” scene, where the magicians perform a theft act as they try to conceal and sneak out the item in question. However far-fetched, it is very ingenious, smooth and fast, whilst keeping the audience in the loop on everything that is going on.

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As it is rarely said that the second film is better than its forerunner, it is difficult to say that this is the case for Now You See Me. It could be said that the sequel was less of a spectacle regarding involvement of the media and the audience within the film; the heist was for a personal cause rather than a Robin Hood-like performance on stage. It was also less mysterious; we now know about Dylan Rhodes’ past and that he is part of the Eye, plus the film was slightly predictable when it came to who was actually in charge of the Eye. Speaking of predictable, the illusions were also easier to figure out, the scene on the plane in particular. There were however some tricks that were never explained; the audience is still very much in the dark over how Atlas disappeared in the rain and how all those doves fit inside Lula’s coat. Additionally, it would have been a wonderful bonus if the film was in 3D; e.g. the scene where Atlas controls the rain would have been more intense, more incredible and more impossible in three dimensions. Finally, it has to be mentioned that Daniel Radcliffe was not exactly the star of the film; frankly his character was slightly annoying. It is also interesting to notice the irony in that Radcliffe has attempted to diminish his Harry Potter-reputation by doing other films, namely Now You See Me, yet another film about magic.

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Overall, the film is clever, effortless and even somewhat sophisticated, all the while staying mysterious and funny. It is definitely worth watching for any audience and it will be especially enjoyable for those who liked the first movie. Finally, everyone could agree that “Now You Don’t” would have been a better fitting title for this film, if it weren’t because “Now You See Me 2” is hinting at a third movie, that is apparently in the works. What will the Horsemen be up to next?

– Catalina & Femke

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