Here we are, onto our second film about magicians in the year or 2013. The last one, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, starring Steve Carrell flopped worldwide and received very little critical praise. Cue Now You See Me, directed by Louis Leterrier, the man responsible for The Transporter series, Unleashed, Clash of the Titans, and The Incredible Hulk. A director who knows how to put together a great action sequence, but hasn’t had a ton of luck in the story department. Can Leterrier put it all together as he deals with a cast of incredible actors that span all the way from Jesse Eisenberg to Michael Caine?
It isn’t too uncommon to see a Robin Hood theme in film, especially in a time of economic downturn that we’ve been seeing now for nearly a decade. It isn’t too often you see it done with magic, as is the case with Now You See Me. Four magicians, Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg) the up and coming magician, Henley Reeves (Isla Fisher) his former assistant, Merritt McKinney (Woody Harrelson) the mentalist, and Jack Wilder (Dave Franco) a petty thief who uses magic, are all tapped by an organization called “The Eye”. When they emerge a year later, the crew has reached a new level of fame as they are co-headlining a Vegas show calling themselves, The Four Horsemen. In their first show they manage to steal 3 million Euros from a Paris bank, which is then distributed into the crowd. As you can imagine, this creates a bit of a stir, and ends up with them being investigated for a bank theft. FBI Agent Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) and Interpol agent Alma Dray are tasked with looking into the crime, and find themselves in a world of magic that they can’t even begin to comprehend.
The first two acts breeze by as we are shown mindblowing magic, and carefully have it dissected for us by magic debunker, Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman). The tricks are entertaining, the dialogue is snappy, and the actors meld into their roles. Its these things that keep the film grounded, and allow for a great popcorn flick. The film could have been cheesy to a point that was cringe-worthy. Unfortunately, a lot of what made the first two acts work so well, falls apart in the third act.
Now You See Me spends a lot of time building up to a final climax that never hits the high note you would expect. Even when the dust settles and the explanations come, the true story feels a bit tame in comparison to the rest of the story. Just like a real magic trick, you are probably better off not knowing how it is done to keep the beauty of the illusion.
Despite the awkward third act, Now You See Me is still a lot of fun because of its premise and the all-star cast that supports it. It may not hold up well on multiple viewings, but the first is sure to be entertaining, and should satisfy anyone looking for a fun summer blockbuster.