I couldn’t help but hear Red (Morgan Freeman in The Shawshank Redemption) say, “Same old shit, different day,” when my wife asked me what I thought of Now You See Me 2. It’s was one of the many “eh, it’s a’ight” films.

Being that this is the sequel, I should have some opinion based on the first movie. To be honest, I can’t remember much about Now You See Me, aside from it being a caper film where flashy magic was the spectacle.

That’s exactly what Now You See Me 2 is. In other words, a summer popcorn flick.

I wanted to see this movie because I love magic. I love being taken in by the impossibility of what the magician is doing. I am thrilled when, against all odds, the trick works out. I mean, of course it’s going to work out. The magician isn’t up there randomly doing things. It’s all an act. An elaborate hoax.

Thinking about magic as a hoax, I am surprised that I’m not put off knowing I’m being “tricked.” True, there is a small part of me that wants to catch the magician’s sleight-of-hand. It’s the same part of me that watches Nascar to see the wrecks. Ultimately though I want the magician to succeed. Success is so much more awesome.

Now You See Me 2 has some magic, some of it was interesting. Still, it wasn’t enough to distract from the story going on in the background. The twist in the movie is weak. By not doing a good job of distracting the audience about what was obviously happening, the movie lacks engagement.

There was plenty of opportunity to distract the audience. I mean, there are eight characters, played by good actors, yet they don’t do much. Actually, there were a couple times I ended up thinking about other movies all together. Morgan Freeman’s prison escape was unconvincing, which brought The Shawshank Redemption to mind. Granted, he didn’t escape inThe Shawshank Redemption, but the story was far more compelling.

Then, ironically, there’s Harry Potter in a movie about magicians but not once does he use his magic. Yeah, yeah, different movie and all that, but you know damn good and well every time you see Daniel Radcliffe a part of you sees Harry Potter. Typecasting is a bitch, but it happens. Ask Mark Skywalker or Data Spiner or Marina Hanzis.

So, all said and done, Now You See Me 2 was eh. It was good enough for a matinee, or perfect for a Saturday/Sunday viewing on cable when there’s nothing else going on.

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