When I wrote about the first trailer for this summer's big sequel Now You See Me 2, I mentioned how much I dislike movies about magicians because they inevitably cheat and feature magic that can't be done live. A story consultant who worked on the film reached out to me to tell me that all of the magic in the film was researched and developed with stage magicians who worked to make sure that all of the magic in the film could be done live by stage magicians, though, and maybe closer to the release we'll try to bring screenwriter Ed Solomon into the studio to discuss this.
You can hardly blame me for my skepticism, though, when this trailer features a scene where Jesse Eisenberg evidently stops the rain, reverses the direction of the rain drops, then explodes into water while standing in the middle of a crowd of people. I'd love to see that effect play out live, because I'm reasonably sure it's impossible.
In the end, I suppose it doesn't matter. People aren't going to see Now You See Me 2 to see a documentary about magicians. They're going to watch magicians run a giant con game on a bad guy, or bad guys since it looks like both Daniel Radcliffe and Morgan Freeman play adversaries this time to the group that is now made up of Eisenberg, Lizzy Caplan, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, and Dave Franco, with Michael Caine, Sanaa Lathan, and Jay Chou also playing key supporting roles.
Films like this live and die on chemistry, and that's what the first film had going for it. I'm actually glad Louis Leterrier didn't direct the sequel. He was busy producing a hate crime with Sacha Baron Cohen, and that freed up Jon Chu to step in. The trailer promises something slick and hopefully fun, and it looks to me like these films are basically following the heist movie model, where you put your team together, outline how things are supposed to happen, and then enjoy watching how they react with things don't go the way they've planned. Done well, that's a really fun template, and considering the way magic is used as the gift wrapping here, it should be a fun ride.
Now You See Me 2 is in theaters June 10, 2016.