Now You See Me 2 Parent Review
It isn't always easy to see the messages about the cost of revenge amidst the glitzy depictions of crime and magic.
You might feel a little lost if you haven’t seen the 2013 movie Now You See Me. This sequel provides about 60 seconds of back-story, but that might not be enough to grasp the motivation in this sleight-of-hand film.
The Four Horsemen are a group of street magicians, each with his or her own specialty. Brought together by an unseen figure known only as the Eye, these performers pulled off the heist of a lifetime while being hounded by FBI agent Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo). (He proves to be more friend than foe by the end of the first film.)
Following the Las Vegas spectacle where the group showered onlookers with money they stole from a French bank, the performers had to go underground for more than a year. However extroverts need an audience and Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg), Merritt (Woody Harrelson) and Jack (Dave Franco) are anxious to get back in the spotlight. This time they are working with a new illusionist, Lula (Lizzy Caplan).
The Horsemen are used to pulling a fast one on others, but now they find themselves at the mercy of Walter Mabry (Daniel Radcliffe). The self-assured, tech guru faked his death and now anonymously manipulates markets, business ventures and the personal privacy of others. Walter is after a chip that will allow him to hack any computer in the world. And he wants the Horsemen to retrieve it for him from a highly secure location.
That mandate gives these conjurors full permission to pull off a fast-paced series of slick tricks that would be far more impressive in real life than they are on screen. (Sadly the constant use of CGI has taken away some of the “wow” factor a live street performer would inspire.) The plotline also goes on hiatus as the magicians make people disappear, create rainstorms and behead a pigeon. And unfortunately their magic skills don’t do them any good during the film’s fight scenes where characters are punched, kicked, shot at, thrown out of a plane, drowned and presumably decapitated.
In the end, this storyline is all about controlling perception and these magicians do that well with their over-the-top entertainment. For audiences interested in a little more depth than deceit, this film also tallies up the cost of revenge. More than one character is lured into a blind spot by allowing his desire to get even or for power to cloud his vision. While that isn’t always an easy message to separate from the glitzy depictions of Three Card Monte, hypnosis or card throwing, it does keep this film from completely collapsing like a house of cards.Directed by Jon M. Chu. Starring Mark Ruffalo, Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Daniel Radcliffe. Running time: 129 minutes. Updated September 6, 2016
Get details on profanity, sex and violence in Now You See Me 2 here.
Now You See Me 2 Parents Guide
FBI Deputy Director Austin compares the search for the Horsemen to a snipe hunt. What is a snipe hunt? What drives people to try and deceive others? Why do those who are tricked often turn around and try to fool others? Are the tricks more or less interesting in this film when it is revealed how they were done?
How does this film use elements, such as musical score, camera shots and costumes, to glamorize the criminal activities depicted? How do the characters avoid consequences for their actions?
Can our negative feelings about another individual or group of people color the way we see them? What do the characters in this film discover when they take a closer look at those they dislike? How does revenge lead to some characters’ downfall in this story?