And to tell you the truth...It was just as fun but a far cry from the original.
This sequel to the 2013 hit takes place one year after the disappearance of The Four Horsemen. They are still on the run and Dylan is doing his best to butcher the trail of the FBI. But the horsemen are getting tired of waiting, desperate to get back into the field so much that Henley decided she didn't want to be in the picture anymore and the new horsemen for her replacement is Lula May, an enthusiast in magic who can trick you into thinking you cut her head off. Now they are called back into action finally, but someone was already in on their trickery and before they know it, Jack Wilder is shown to the public as alive, Dylan is shown as the inside 5th Horsemen, the other four are transported into Hong Kong, and there an invisible-from-the-public magic man named Walter Maybee played by Daniel Radcliffe wants them to steal a computer chip that can tap into every kind of computer on the planet and do absolutely anything. If I had this card, I'd use it to restore the Pokemon videos that were wrongfully deleted from ROM hackers like Narufreak2 and xAndrewwilsonx.
Now, the real reason Henley wasn't in this movie is Isla Fisher was pregnant. But to be honest, I feel that Lizzy Caplan was a good enough actress to replace the role and she could've still been Henley rather than tell everyone she wanted to go. Of course, she hasn't vanished like how Dylan vanished from Thaddeus Bradley's cell at the end of the first film. Actually, that's exactly the right metaphor, as her name is on file in Thaddeus Bradley's cell anyway, so she's still on the run. I just, wish the movie didn't choose to just say "she left us" after the big blowout that was the first film. Henley could've stayed in even with a face replacement. Fisher isn't the only one in this little case. Melanie Laurent, aka Alma Drey, isn't in this movie either. There's also another FBI agent named Rebecca who was inspired to join the law enforcement agency because of Dylan, and from the few moments in the movie they spend talking to each other, I sort of felt like this was supposed to be Alma's role. And Woody Harrelson plays a double-role this time as his twin brother, the man who screwed him over, the man he mentions in the last movie, and I found him as annoying as his performance as Jake from Free Birds.
Now that that harsh panning is done, what did I think of the story? Well, even though I didn't find the final act in the story as pulse-pounding as the last one and I actually finished the movie with loads of questions, along the way I had a pretty excellent time. Actually, I had a big blowout, especially in the beginning act when the team sabotages the entire arena hilariously, Jesse Eisenberg blinding a security guard with a snapshot, Harrelson hypnotizing which leads to one of the funniest and cleverest jokes you will see in a theatre all year, basically that beginning act was laugh-out-loud funny, and even more laugh-out-loud funny is this joke afterwards with Radcliffe at the helm, which is funnier than it might sound. I also can't not recommend a movie that has a pulse-pounding heist in the eyes of security like they do here, teamwork and opportunity used to the fullest. And by the way, the story actually feels like it belongs as a follow up to the first film, even if there's one event involved I didn't buy. It really feels like a revenge story that was set up to inevitably happen in the consequences of the actions of the Horsemen. There are also not one, but two twists involving characters in the story before the final act that you won't see coming; as long as you don't do your homework. I already knew the twist from the early advertising so it wasn't as big a surprise; infact, it wasn't a surprise at all. You'll probably like the movie more than me if you didn't already.
So, in the end, Now You See Me 2 is a movie very complicated to grade. There's an absence of major characters, an ending that doesn't make that much sense and I had several unanswered questions, but there were not two minutes that had gone by where I wasn't on the edge of my seat, the fight scenes have tremendous choreography, and boundaries stretched here are, like Captain America: Civil War, very big and even a little impressively risky for the full franchise. All I'll say left is, hopefully Henley and Alma will return in the next movie.