It was delicately balanced foolishness that allowed Now You See Me to work. No such luck this time out: the second outing with the Four Horsemen, street magicians turned modern-day Robin Hoods, starts out dumb and illogical and rapidly descends into the fantastically idiotic.
Jesse Eisenberg (Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice), Woody Harrelson (Triple 9), and Dave Franco (Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising) are joined by a new “girl Horseman,” Lizzy Caplan (The Night Before); Isla Fisher wisely chose not to return, perhaps because she realized that no matter how many painfully wannabe-ironic jokes the script makes about the token girl, “the girl Horseman” is still just the token girl.
The secret magic society The Eye that Mark Ruffalo (Spotlight) welcomed them to at the end of the first movie now directs them to hijack a PR event by telecommunications company Octa, because its new cell phone is going to be a disaster for personal privacy… but all the “world of total surveillance” scaremongering the script engages in is nothing but a long game of misdirection, because the movie is not going to be about that. It’s not going to be about anything at all, beyond mounting impossibly supernatural-seeming magic tricks aimed at thwarting the least menacing villain ever (played by Daniel Radcliffe [Victor Frankenstein] in a sad bit of stunt casting).
Scenes go nowhere, tedious info dumps nevertheless fail to explain what is going on, and everyone has daddy issues. The only momentarily amusing moment — it actually made me laugh out loud — was the FBI surveillance van spying on the Horsemen (in London, where the FBI has no remit to operate) that has “FBI” emblazoned in its side. And it’s not even meant to be some sort of double fakeout. It’s just incredibly stupid.