Now You See Me was an unexpected commercial success back in 2013, paving the way for the release of Now You See Me 2 this year – and, should this sequel perform well at the box office, a Now You See Me trilogy could be in the cards, too. The second Now You See Me installment reunites Jesse Eisenberg, Dave Franco, and Woody Harrelson as three-fourths of the magician group that’s known as the Four Horsemen. Meanwhile, Jon M. Chu (G.I. Joe: Retaliation, Jem and the Holograms) replaced Louis Leterrier behind the camera on the sequel as director, as the latter was too busy making the Sacha Baron Cohen action/comedy The Brothers Grimsby to return for the Now You See Me sequel.
Chu’s directorial style on the second Now You See Me installment doesn’t appear to be all that different than Leterrier’s on “The First Act”, judging by the previously-released teaser trailer footage for the movie. Similarly, the quick pacing of the comedic banter and the action/thrills on display in the newly-unveiled Now You See Me 2 international trailer (which you can watch above) suggests that Chu’s sequel is aiming to offer much of the same entertainment that audiences enjoyed in the first Now You See Me – albeit, with the heightened dramatic stakes and flashier spectacle that’s pretty typical for sequels.
Now You See Me 2, as the international trailer explains, picks up a year after the events of its predecessor and starts off with a comeback performance by the Horsemen – with Lizzy Caplan’s (Masters of Sex) Lula taking the spot of Isla Fisher’s Henley, reportedly because the latter was pregnant around the time of filming; on top of that, she also worked on The Brothers Grimsby with her husband, S.B. Cohen. Back to Now You See Me 2 – the Horsemen find themselves blackmailed into carrying out “their most impossible heist yet” (as the film’s official synopsis puts it); it’s a bit difficult to nail down exactly who’s the mastermind behind all this, though, seeing as the Now You See Me 2 trailer reminds us that both the incarcerated magic trick-dispeller Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman) and the wealthy Arthur Tressler (Michael Caine) want revenge against the Horsemen, for their previous shenanigans.
Harry Potter himself, Daniel Radcliffe costars in Now You See Me 2 as Walter, the tech genius who forces the Horsemen to carry out said dangerous mission for him – and though it’s not clear if Walter is indeed Tressler’s son as previously reported, the pair certainly appear to be in cahoots, going by the international trailer for the film. Other key players in the Now You See Me sequel include Mark Ruffalo back as Dylan Rhodes, along with franchise newcomers Jay Chou (The Green Hornet) and Sanaa Lathan (The Perfect Guy), both of who appear to be playing government agents on the hunt to take down the Horsemen for their latest criminal deeds.
Judging by the film’s trailers, the Now You See Me 2 screenplay by Now You See Me co-writer Ed Solomon – drawing from a story he co-wrote with Peter Chiarelli (The Proposal) – will (no surprise) recycle certain plot elements featured in Now You See Me; though the sequel has an advantage in that it’s playing in a bigger sandbox, so to speak. Namely, following the revelation that “The Eye” is a real organization and that the Horsemen are now among their members (as is Rhodes), that sets the stage for the sequel to go bigger and crazier with its “magic” performance sequences than its predecessor did, without breaking any of the “rules” for the Now You See Me universe. Question is, can Now You See Me 2 deliver more than just a flashier retread of what the first installment offered (when all is said and done)? We’ll find out later this year.
Now You See Me 2 opens in U.S. theaters on June 10th, 2016.