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Now You See Me 2 review: just as flashy and inexplicable as the first

Aleesha Matharu | Updated on: 10 February 2017, 1:49 IST

When I first saw the trailer for Now You See Me, I got pretty excited - it was a nice idea. In the end, the vision failed to translate on screen the way you expect it to. Yes, there were cool bits of magic and some great acting, but the glue that holds a good film together was entirely missing.

And what plagues the sequel is exactly what plagued the first - plausibility.

As well as a smart cast forced to deal with a dumb script.

Since the events of the last movie where the four Horsemen stole millions from a businessman played by Michael Caine, the magicians have been keeping a low profile.

But Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg) has the itch to become the leader of this magical band of thieves. But the mysterious leader of the organisation, The Eye, asks him to be patient and to, for now, leave Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) in charge.

Eventually, Atlas and the other members of The Four Horsemen: the presumed dead Jack Wilder (Dave Franco), mentalist Merritt McKinney (Woody Harrelson) and newcomer Lula (Lizzy Caplan), are recruited to take down a tech company.

But things don't work out as they expect (duh) and they end up becoming pawns of powerful tech genius Walter Mabry (Daniel Radcliffe). His plan, you ask? To steal a piece of revolutionary technology, of course (not a wand).

So reluctantly forced into service, the Four Horsemen must figure out how to turn the tables. All the while, Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman) pulls some strings to control this puppet show

Sadly fatigue sets in quite early and as expected much of it was inexplicable. Magic has many layers we're told, but navigating those layers for us viewers is nearly impossible.

Which is a pity because some of the sequences are truly spectacular. Well, not so much the main heist scene which turned into an over-extended 15-minute annoying card trick.

Lizzy Caplan was possibly the best thing about the movie and her character Lula also provides the bulk of the movie's meta-commentary - one of its biggest value adds over the original.

Lula points out the awkward "token woman" dilemma very early on, and introduced herself to the group as "the girl Horseman". But she doesn't stop there, no. When the group begins to preparefor a high-speed chase, Lula gets annoyed when one of her male counterparts asks if she knows how to ride a motorcycle.

The second best thing was twice the Woody Harrelson. That guy never gets old.

The verdict

Yes there's something about magic that sends the imagination spinning.

But the film strains the limits of belief and patience, suspended or otherwise. When it comes to this flashy tribute to the wonders of magic, I guess seeing really is believing.

And you won't believe this one for even a second.

RATING: 2.5 out of 5

First published: 18 June 2016, 3:34 IST
Aleesha Matharu @almatharu

Born in Bihar, raised in Delhi and schooled in Dehradun, Aleesha writes on a range of subjects and worked at The Indian Express before joining Catch as a sub-editor. When not at work you can find her glued to the TV, trying to clear a backlog of shows, or reading her Kindle. Raised on a diet of rock 'n' roll, she's hit occasionally by wanderlust. After an eight-year stint at Welham Girls' School, Delhi University turned out to be an exercise in youthful rebellion before she finally trudged her way to J-school and got the best all-round student award. Now she takes each day as it comes, but isn't an eternal optimist.