A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Now You See Me 2 is the sequel to 2013's popular, magic-centric heist flick Now You See Me. It reunites most of the actors from the original film (including Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, and Mark Ruffalo) -- and adds some newbies (like Daniel Radcliffe) -- for another entertaining caper. There are plenty of intense action and fight sequences that might be too bone-crunching for younger viewers (characters punch, shoot, and throw things at each other, people fall out of planes, etc.), and the traumatic death of a character's father when the character was a young boy is discussed frequently. Expect some swearing -- including "damn," "s--t," and "a--hole" -- as well as social drinking and a passionate kiss.
- Parents say
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What's the story?
In NOW YOU SEE ME 2, the sequel to 2013's Now You See Me, the Four Horsemen (or, rather, Three Horsemen and One Horsewoman, with the latter now played by Lizzy Caplan rather than the original's Isla Fisher) -- J. Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg), Merritt McKinney (Woody Harrelson), and Jack Wilder (Dave Franco) -- are back from a year's disappearance, awaiting word on their next move from FBI agent Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo). Rhodes is now very much part of their act, albeit silently, and their nemesis -- constant debunker Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman) -- is behind bars. But Bradley's plotting to unmask the Horsemen and Rhodes continues, and when their return act goes awry and lands them in Macau, they discover that a previous run-in with their billionaire-backer-turned-enemy (Michael Caine) is far from over: Now his son (Daniel Radcliffe) is gunning for them, too.
Is it any good?
Much like its predecessor, this heist thriller's main driving force is the stylized, large-scale magic tricks that the film uses to both dazzle and take the audience behind the scenes. It's perhaps even more seductive than the original film, as viewers are both in on and out of the act, depending on which best suits the plot. We're invited along by an appealing ensemble led by the reliably brilliant Ruffalo, whose authenticity grounds even the most outlandish scenes, and enjoyably dastardly addition Radcliffe, who appears to be relishing a rare menacing turn.
Nonetheless, Now You See Me 2 sometimes feels too slick for its own good, with the performance set pieces sometimes taking too long to unwind -- enough to make even avid magic fans impatient for the big reveal.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why the Four Horsemen do what they do in Now You See Me 2. What motivates them? Can they be considered "good guys" even if they resort to less-than-legal means to do their work? Do they demonstrate teamwork?
Can you think of other movie/TV characters who break laws but are still considered do-gooders? How does that impact their status as role models?
How does the violence in this kind of movie compare to what you might see in an action movie or a horror one? Do different types of media violence have different impact?
What's the film's take on unity and loyalty? How does it explore these themes?
- In theaters: June 10, 2016
- On DVD or streaming: September 6, 2016
- Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Dave Franco, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson
- Director: Jon M. Chu
- Studio: Lionsgate
- Genre: Thriller
- Run time: 115 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: violence and some language
- Last updated: September 17, 2020
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