The deal-breaking problem with these films – among so, so many problems – is this: They don’t f--king ground the magic in any sort of reality, but rely on CGI for their showstoppers.
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Director Jon M. Chu has a lighter touch than “Now You See Me” director Louis Leterrier. The latter’s “Transporter” pedigree made sure there was plenty of rugged action, but Chu’s résumé boasts “Jem and the Holograms,” “G.I. Joe: Retaliation,” and more than one film in the “Step Up” franchise. The man knows his cartoons, and that’s a good thing.
We used to watch movies and wonder “How did they do that?” The problem with Now You See Me 2 isn’t that we already know the answer, it’s that we’re not even inspired to ask the question.
The sheer amount of people and incident indifferently presented throughout this film suggests only an obligation to quota-filling.
The A.V. Club by Ignatiy Vishnevetsky
Now You See Me 2 gets giddy on its own unreality. That sense of freewheeling excess extends from the chip heist — set in a metal-free clean room — to the nonstop contrivances and coincidences to the cast.
Entertainment Weekly by Leah Greenblatt
Jon M. Chu (several Step Up movies) has taken over directing duties from Louis Leterrier, and he has a lighter, goofier touch. He seems to get that the silliness is baked in.
Now You See Me 2 is more like a giddy piece of cheese from the ’80s, a chance to spend two more hours with characters we like, doing variations on the things that made us like them in the first place. The revisit, in this case, is well-earned.
Rolling Stone by Peter Travers
If you fell for the 2013 original — and surprisingly, many did — then Now You See Me 2 has got your number. For the rest of us, however, this longer, louder sequel adds up to what one character calls "a sack of nada."
The Hollywood Reporter by Sheri Linden
Compared with the first film, this one embraces the premise’s essential preposterousness, although not necessarily to winning effect.
Screen International by Tim Grierson
Doubling down on the giddily ridiculous tone of its predecessor, Now You See Me 2 is diverting, but the film’s rampant, cheeky cleverness — its ‘can you guess what’s going on?” coyness — ultimately proves tiresome.
This sequel adds more action, drama, and twists to the storyline. The action sequences definitely contribute more spark to the film, although I would've been totally fine with just their magic/sleight of hand sequences. I believe it holds up to the first film (just look at the scene in the vault itself), but don't expect something exactly the same as the first.