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Now You See Me 2 Still Can’t Make Magic Cool—But It Can Make It Funny

And for their next trick, the cast of Now You See Me will pull a sequel out of a place you never thought could contain one!

The fact that Lionsgate hired Jon Chu to make a follow-up to their 2013 magician-themed heist movie is proof that someone in Hollywood really wants to make magic cool. In the sequel, a generous 130 minutes is spent in an effort to do just that. That’s a long time to sit in a theatre waiting to experience something close to the way the Harry Potter movies made you feel about spells and tricks and sleights of hand. And maybe that’s it—“tricks” aren’t magic. They’re tricks. With magic, we want to be awed, not fooled.

When it comes to stage magic, anyone without a strong natural inclination towards the discipline is apt to feel like Gillian Jacobs’ Love character when she’s taken on a date to The Magic Castle. But like that hilariously ill-fated sitcom date, while Now You See Me 2 can’t convince us that stage magic is edgy, it does manage to prove that it can be funny—thanks to its cast of sarcastic and self-deprecating characters.

Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, and Dave Franco resume their roles as three out of four of the Horsemen with Lizzy Caplan taking over for Isla Fisher. Mark Ruffalo, Michael Caine, and Morgan Freeman also reappear and (speaking of Harry Potter) Daniel Radcliffe joins the cast as a billionaire tech prodigy who blackmails the Horsemen into orchestrating the ultimate heist. No one mentions Quidditch even once.

Harrelson does double duty by playing his character’s long-lost evil twin, a not-overplayed gag that manages to stay fresh over the course of the movie. The highlight is Radcliffe though, in his role as an outsized child still desperately trying to please daddy.

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The sequel’s ending feels a lot like an episode of Scooby-Doo which can be good or bad, depending on how you feel about meddling kids. And in case you’re already wondering: yes, the door to a third NYSM instalment is left wide open.

Now You See Me 2 magically appears in theatres June 10. Watch the trailer below.

 

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