One of my favorite movies of all time, The Prestige, does something with magic that totally blows me away each and every time that I watch. The entire film, you think that the magic is the focus, but, in the end, you realize it is nothing but a front. After watching the trailers for Now You See Me, I was fairly certain that this film would lack the depth and the Nolan that made The Prestige so great. However, while watching and allowing the film to do its own thing, I was able to avoid comparing Now You See Me to The Prestige. My expectations were not extremely high, but I do like Jesse Eisenberg and Woody Harrelson, so I figured there was a little hope that the twists and turns coupled with good acting could "magically" impress...
Most summer blockbusters feature great visuals and action scenes, and, with most films like Now You See Me, that's about all they have going for them. Unfortunately for Now You See Me, the visuals and action scenes really never materialized in any way. They would randomly swoosh around the focal point, in the midst of a long, awkward pause, but it just never really worked. Maybe I just got spoiled watching Star Trek twice... who knows? Anyway, contrary to my expectations, Now You See Me actually allowed the plot to carry the film, and, when included, the magic was quite impressive (even though most of it was unbelievable). Sure, the big plot-twist finale was predictable, but there were actually a lot of minor details that were included, adding a bit of depth to the plot.
We've all seen Harrelson and Eisenberg in Zombieland. We've all seen Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine in The Dark Knight trilogy. Aside from those two combos, this cast felt completely random to me. I never felt, in any way, that the four magicians (Harrelson, Eisenberg, Isla Fisher, and Dave Franco) fit together. Before being grouped together by some mystery man, each magician had their own act, and it should have just stayed that way.
21 Jump Street was my favorite comedy of 2013, but Dave Franco is my new favorite actor to hate! He is so freakin annoying! Many people have the same opinion about his brother, James, but I really don't mind James. He can act! Dave just whines and talks funny... nothing more. On the other hand, I love both Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine, but they just didn't really bring it in Now You See Me. I can't put my finger on the problem with either one, but they didn't fit.
Mark Ruffalo is one of the most underrated actors in Hollywood, yet, after his turn as The Hulk in The Avengers, I think he will soon be getting the credit he deserves. Kudos to Ruffalo for sticking with it for so long and picking some roles that suit him well. I remember first seeing him in 13 Going on 30, which I'm sure he now regrets.
While Now You See Me wasn't an amazing film, it was able to satisfy (maybe exceed) my expectations. Was it as good as The Prestige? Heck no! However, the depth of the twists and turns are sure to thrill the average viewer, and the magic tricks will impress anyone, regardless of their believability. The last five minutes of the film were great. You just had to get there. Unfortunately, whoever was in charge of casting should probably perform some sort of disappearing act. Aside from Franco, I like all of the actors, but they did not fit in any way. According to the box office results and the critics, I made the right decision by choosing Now You See Me over After Earth... Sorry, Will Smith! I give Now You See Me 2.54 out of 5 stars.