I was so happy to see a trailer for this … and to see that Daniel Radcliffe is in it! According to IMDB.com, there is a Now You See Me 3 already in production.
Now You See Me, the first movie, is playing on TNT nearly continually right now. It makes me sad that I missed the theatrical release because the stage magic scenes would be awesome on a big screen.
I assumed it had been a box office failure, but apparently it earned back enough for a sequel (the ending set up a sequel perfectly). For the sequel, I’ll go to the cinema.
I’m a sucker for stage magic, and Now You See Me nailed the big, over-the-top Las Vegas extravaganzas we’ve all seen on TV. The “backstory,” actually, I’d say the “understory” in this case, was clever, and the banter among the four magicians, with the beleaguered FBI agent (Mark Ruffalo) who hates magic, and the arrogant billionaire played by Michael Caine, sparkled. The visuals were great.
The story unspools economically; four independent magicians, each with a particular talent (two of them making a living criminally) are drawn together by a strange invitation. One year later, they are the act known as the Four Horsemen, performing at a major Las Vegas hotel/casino. In full view of an audience of a thousand, not to mention plenty of cameras, the Four Horsemen rob a bank vault… in Paris, France. And that, they tell the audience (and us) is only Act One.
Ruffalo’s character, Dylan, is assigned the case in the US, and is promptly saddled with Alma, a gorgeous blond French Interpol agent, because the money actually disappeared from France. Dylan hates magic and is a curmudgeon; Alma enjoys stage magic. It makes people smile, she says. Alma recognizes that we like moments when the laws of physics seem to upend (without hurting anything), and once in a while, in a safe way, we like being fooled. This is why Morgan Freeman’s character Thaddeus Bradley, who makes his living debunking stage magicians and exposing their tricks, is not portrayed as likeable.
As a fan of books like The Count of Monte Cristo, I’ve always loved the intricately developed revenge plot, and Now You See Me’s use of stage magic (mis-direction, distraction, etc.) added a nice layer to this story. It was even more satisfying when we got to the end. Alma never really worked for me. I knew she needed to be there, and she served a time-honored role in the magic-show set-up of the movie, but her character never convinced. I did like it though, when near the end she is still tugging on Dylan’s arm and saying, “Not that way, this way.”
And… the idea of The Eye, a secret society of stage magicians, working to make the world better? What’s not to love?
It will be interesting to see what develops in the sequel. Both of the Four Horsemen’s adversaries show up in the trailer. That’s interesting… and it might be misdirection.