Movie #361 2020: Now You See Me (2013)

I suppose you could label this movie ‘Films to Watch Over Christmas With Your Teenage Kids’. It’s not ‘childish’ enough for them to not want to watch it, and it’s not so ‘adult’ that watching it together would be all too very embarrassing. In that regard, it’s perfect! In general movie terms… not so much.

Now You See Me is a 2013 blockbuster that focuses on a group of magicians. But these are no ordinary magicians: they open their own show in Vegas(?) in which they promise to rob a bank with their final trick of the evening. Known as ‘The Four Horsemen’, the magicians quickly become extremely famous with their notoriety, and of course, they get arrested by the police when they carry out their less than honourable heist plot. It all escalates from there into a weird amalgamation of heist movie/magic movie/action movie when the four of them get in way too deep with some pretty terrible criminals.

People hate magicians. But I love magicians. What else do I love? Heist movies. This is exactly my kind of trash. (I must point out however that The Prestige is the best movie about magicians ever made, and probably will be for the rest of time.)

So, let’s begin with the cast. Woody Harrelson is the backbone of any movie he stars in and I love him deeply. He could show up just to play himself and I’d deem it Oscar-worthy. Conversely, Jesse Eisenberg and Isla Fisher are as irritating as you’d expect, and Mark Ruffalo is standard Mark Ruffalo; even when playing Bruce Banner/The Hulk he manages to just be playing himself, and this is no anomaly. Bringing up the rear in supporting roles though? Common and Michael Caine. Who doesn’t want to see that?

Look, it’s lame. It’s corny. The performances are mostly garbage… and it’s super fun to watch. I don’t even care: this movie is entertaining. The parts without magic? No, they’re not so exciting, but they’re not terrible either. At its worst, Now You See Me is one Dominic Toretto away from a Fast and Furious movie, and at its best, it’s a sub-par instalment of Ocean’s Eleven. I’m not really selling it here, am I?

Yes, it’s overly long and unnecessarily complicated, but there’s enough ridiculousness and debauchery to keep you interesting throughout. As a matter of fact, this movie was popular enough to more than quadruple its budget at the box office, and spawned a sequel (which achieved the same monetary feat) as a result, so at least you know it’s entertaining if nothing else.

Will I ever watch it again? No. Will I even watch the sequel? Doubtful. Do I actually recommend this film? Still negative. Nevertheless, it’s a story about criminal magicians, so at least there’s an original story behind it that ties it all together. Average, but still fun!

Man, there’s been a lot of that this year, hasn’t there?

Now You See Me is available to stream on Netflix, Sky Cinema and Now TV in the UK.

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