Are you watching closely? Being aware of minute details and sleight of hand is at the centre of Now You See Me 2. The “Horsemen” magicians made a name for themselves in the first film for the magic stunts they performed to expose corruption.
Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg), Merritt McKinney (Woody Harrelson), Jack Wilder (Dave Franco) and Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo), along with the newest addition to their Robin hood-style gang Lula (Lizzy Caplan), answer to a secret organisation that claims to have access to real magic, known only as the Eye. After a year in hiding (they are now wanted criminals for transferring millions of dollars of insurance mogul Arthur Tressler’s (Michael Caine) money to the accounts of people who were denied insurance claims by him), they are eager to get back on the global stage.
But things go swiftly wrong when their return to the spotlight is hijacked, and on trying to escape they find themselves in Macau.
The man who kidnapped them is tech giant Walter Mabry (a brilliant Daniel Radcliffe). Mabry forces the Horsemen into performing their most ambitious stunt yet.
The film is sharp, clever and well executed, and the acts of magic are seamless. The nod to Macau will be appreciated by Hong Kong audiences, who will recognise some of the landmarks. At the press screening, the audience even cheered and applauded when magic debunker Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman) burst into Putonghua.
As a sequel, Now You See Me 2 ran the risk of being repetitive and predictable – there are only so many times you can impress the audience with a card trick – but it manages to avoid that, and the unexpected twists and ingenuity of their illusions make the ending all the more satisfying. As soon as it’s over, you’ll want to watch it all over again to see if you can work out how the magic happens.