Movie review: Heists of 'Now You See Me 2' magically make logic disappear

Brad Keefe, Columbus Alive

The 2013 film "Now You See Me" may have marked the birth of a new hyper-specific genre: the magic-caper-heist-thriller. Or at least it's a genre now that there's a sequel.

"Now You See Me" was a moderate success, earning more than $117 million (on a reported $75 million budget), and its open-ended storyline suggested another chapter (or more). I guess that's a good thing if you like magic tricks.

"Now You See Me 2" doesn't open on the lightest note, as we see a young boy bear witness to the death of his magician father in a trick gone wrong, followed by a quick (but still convoluted) recap of the events of the first film.

The illusionists/social justice warriors known as the Horsemen are back, and they are again evading the law and elaborately turning the tables on the "1 Percent" - through magic!

A majority of the original cast returns with Mark Ruffalo playing FBI agent (with a secret) Dylan Rhodes. The existing Horsemen (Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco) are joined by a new team member with Lizzy Caplan's character - a highlight for some much-needed wit and, you know, a character who represents about half of the movie-going public's gender.

There are more impressive names on the side of the baddies (or are they?), including a returning Morgan Freeman and Daniel Radcliffe trying to turn heel on his Harry Potter past.

Director Jon M. Chu is young, but experienced at this kind of cotton-candy slickness. The capers involve lots of ridiculously complicated plans - unnecessarily complex ones that definitely do not hold up to even the slightest logical exploration.

And that's OK. Movies are meant to bend reality and good ones don't need your stinking logic - those obnoxious "Everything Wrong With" YouTube videos be damned.

Therein lies the problem with "Now You See Me 2." It's not that it's ridiculous; it's that it alternates that with a glum sense of self-seriousness. It feels way too proud of layered twists that were pulled out of a hat - or a screenwriter's ass.

Still, it's fun to watch that great cast, even if they all have done and deserve to do better.

"Now You See Me 2"

Opens Thursday

2 stars out of 4