2013 heist caper ‘Now You See Me’ was one of the year’s biggest surprises when it tallied $300 million worldwide despite a mixed critical reception. Boasting an impressive ensemble and a crowd-friendly mentality its success was built off positive word-of-mouth, and given that no successful film nowadays goes without sequel talk, here we are with a continuation that plays very much within the original’s formula.

Wasting no time on a “Previously on ‘Now You See Me’” prologue, ‘Now You See Me 2’ continues the crime-like adventures of The Four Horsemen, a quartet of illusionists who use their unique talents of street magic and unmatched wit to pull of daring thefts. Not in the business of stealing for themselves but to expose the unethical practices of a tech magnate, the group – consisting of Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco and Lizzy Caplan (the latter substituting the departed Isla Fisher) – are pulled out of a self-imposed hiatus to clear their name when a slew of familiar (and villainous) faces resurface to force them into their most ambitious heist yet.

Films like ‘Now You See Me 2’ are made with the intention of providing pure escapism for their receptive audiences, and this highly improbable sequel proves a roaring good time – if you don’t think too much on the situational logistics.

In addition to the returning Eisenberg (constantly looking like he’d rather be elsewhere), Harrelson and Franco, Mark Ruffalo, Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine reprise their roles to suitable effect, Daniel Radcliffe makes for an amusing addition as an unlikely threat, and Caplan manages to brighten up the screen whenever she appears with her likeable brand of spunk and sex appeal.

With a third entry already in the works it’s clear that the ‘Now You See Me’ name intends on creating a neat little franchise for itself, and as enjoyable as this second coming is, there’ll have to be a bit more magic fashioned to maintain longevity because as much as this sequel works, it’s familiar formula wears thin.

Now You See Me 2 is in cinemas now. Watch the trailer below:

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