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‘Now You See Me 2’ Is an ‘Excruciating,’ ‘Brain-Dead’ Sequel, Critics Say

The sequel currently holds a score of 38 percent on Rotten Tomatoes

“Now You See Me 2” is the latest summer movie to succumb to sequelitis.

The film currently holds a score of 38 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, with critics calling the follow-up to 2013 cinema caper “preposterous,” “excruciating,” and a “brain-dead sequel.”

“To keep the entire enterprise from floating away, cinematographer Peter Deming (‘Mulholland Drive,’ the upcoming ‘Twin Peaks’ revival) positions most of the onscreen bodies in as much detailed darkness as possible, the better to minimize the utter ridiculousness of their actions,” wrote TheWrap’s film critic Dave White in a review entitled, “‘Now You See Me 2’ Review: Daniel Radcliffe and Company Pull Fun Out of Thin Air.”

“Now You See Me 2” features returning cast members Jesse EisenbergMark RuffaloWoody HarrelsonDave Franco and Morgan Freeman. They’re joined by newcomers Daniel RadcliffeLizzy Caplan and Michael Caine.

See 11 of the worst reviews below.

Tomris Laffley, Time Out:

“Forget what trick-debunker Morgan Freeman says: You don’t have to see this to believe it (or see it at all). But if you do insist, have some migraine medication handy for headache-inducing hypnosis, partly administered by not one but two Woody Harrelsons — this time he’s got a twin brother, doubling the dim-witted humor.”

Matt Goldberg, Collider:

Jon M. Chu‘s ‘Now You See Me 2’ suffers from the same problem as the original, and while it does have some success at backing its heroes into a corner, it ultimately becomes far too convoluted and self-satisfied to be an even marginally delightful picture.”

Nigel M. Smith, The Guardian:

“‘Now You See Me,’ a jazzy heist caper that became a surprise hit in the summer of 2013, had an energizing bounce to it, courtesy of French film-maker Louis Leterrier, even though it didn’t make a lick of sense. By contrast, ‘Now You See Me 2’ plays like its try-hard cousin: it wants so badly to win you over that the desperation is off-putting. The film, like the smug magicians that populate it, showboats by throwing more of everything at the screen. Critically lacking is the sense of fun that characterized its predecessor.”

David Ehrlich, IndieWire:

“This flashy, brain-dead sequel turns 2013’s dumbest movie into 2016’s dumbest franchise.”

Michael Phillips, Chicago Star Tribune:

“You don’t believe a second of what you’re seeing but … well, you don’t believe a second of what you’re seeing. Yet the design of the sequence is intricately ridiculous, and not without panache. Elsewhere, Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine are back in action, and even with Peter Deming’s highly variable digital photography, the movie’s Macau and London locales don’t hurt. If that sounds like faint-ish praise, well, check the star rating.”

David Lewis, San Francisco Chronicle:

“The story doesn’t make a lick of sense, of course, but this sleight-of-hand movie is all about the smoke and mirrors, and it doesn’t pretend to be anything else, except when it’s delivering a few hollow lamentations about income inequality. Like the original, the sequel is a string of elaborate tricks that range from the merely implausible to the utterly preposterous. Your enjoyment of the movie will depend on whether you can suspend your disbelief — and confusion — and let the magic of misdirection wash over you.”

Sara Stewart, New York Post:

“‘Horsemen reappear in London; world holds its breath,’ blares a newspaper headline in this sequel, rather overestimating the world’s fascination with magicians — as well as its recall of the first movie, which was three years ago and not all that memorable even then.”

Jake Coyle, Associated Press:

“The magician heist movie ‘Now You See Me 2’ disappears with not a poof, but in a hyper-kinetic blur of hectic plot mechanics, ceaselessly nattering characters and so many ploys of misdirection that the film’s own direction got lost up someone’s sleeve long ago. Now you see it, now you don’t. Did you care that you saw it? Why did you see it, anyway? Is that why you look like you need a nap?”

Laura Clifford, Reeling Reviews:

“Excruciating.  That’s how it felt to sit through the sequel to a film which wasn’t good to begin with.  This is a movie about magic that has none of its own.  Written by ‘Now You See Me’s’ Ed Solomon with the directorial reins taken over by ‘Jem and the Holograms” Jon M. Chu, ‘Now You See Me 2’ is loud, long and lazy, the talents of its considerable cast wasted.  Where are Penn and Teller when you need them?”

Stephen Whitty, New York Daily News:

“Good magic is all about misdirection. ‘Now You See Me 2’ is all about bad direction. A louder, even more confused follow-up to the surprise 2013 hit, it throws a lot of stuff at the screen. But little of it sticks, and even less makes sense.”

Rafer Guzman, Newsday:

“There’s suspension of disbelief, and then there’s the profound gullibility it would take to enjoy ‘Now You See Me 2,’ a sequel to 2013’s magic-themed heist movie. That film’s flashy illusions and last-minute escapes stretched credibility, but at least it added up to an entertaining action-thriller. The sequel is twice as preposterous and half as fun.”

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