It’s not as clever as it thinks it is.
Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco and Jesse Eisenberg return as the horsemen without Isla Fisher, who was replaced with Lizzy Caplan. Veterans Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine also return and Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) himself joins the cast as the horsemen’s adversary.
The film is set 18 months after the first, with Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman) in jail and Arthur Tressler (Michael Caine) seeking revenge on the horsemen for stealing all his hard earned money. The horsemen are in hiding and awaiting orders from ‘The Eye’ and Jack Wilder (Dave Franco) is still presumed dead.
The crew are given the blueprints to a new ‘show’ to expose corrupt businessman Owen Case (Ben Lamb), whose new software secretly steals data from its users to sell on to the highest bidder. Their ‘show’ is hijacked by an unknown adversary and the team is transported to China by their mysterious enemy. There, they have a run in with Radcliffe’s Walter Mabry who employs the horsemen under the threat of death. The horsemen undertake a heist using magic and illusion to trick their way in and out of the high security location.
While I cannot adequately express my disappointment at the lack of Harry Potter jokes, I did enjoy Radcliffe’s addition to the cast and predictably, with a cast this strong, the performances are obviously going to be fine. This is with the exception of Harrelson’s strange second role as his own brother, which he played as an annoying caricature.
If you had to suspend your disbelief for the first film, you pretty much have to tie heavy weights to its ankles and throw it into the ocean to enjoy this film. And that would be fine, if the film had something to say, or even if it was well written. Or even if it was fun. But it doesn’t and it’s not, really. A lot of the dialogue was flat and the storyline felt generic and predictable.
One thing that is incredibly annoying about this film is that it seems to think it’s a lot more intelligent than it is and the explanation for the final heist is so incredibly underwhelming yet it’s told with the gusto of someone who has cleverly just figured out what dark matter is. It just doesn’t have the same appeal as the first one and lacks its predecessor’s charisma and spectacle.
FORGETTABLE. While not terrible, or even bad, NYSM2 isn’t particularly memorable with underwhelming set pieces and forgettable dialogue.