Way to break the streak, “Now You See Me 2”!
The funny thing is, what drove me out of the theater an hour into the film wasn’t just the absurdity of the story, the flatness of the performances (except for Lizzy Caplan, the only one even trying) or the pointlessness of the film. It wasn’t that I was bored. I left because I felt … nothing.
I actually liked 2013’s “Now You See Me,” which was silly but at least gave you characters who wanted things, and you either wanted them to get those things or wanted them to not get those things. “Now You See Me 2” couldn’t even do that. It is the cinematic equivalent of me telling you about the time my college roommate’s sister got a speeding ticket. You don’t care about the people involved, it’s not a particularly interesting situation, so unless I tell the story really well you’re probably going to half-listen to me with a vaguely polite expression on your face while thinking about what you’re going to eat for dinner.
Apathy is the enemy of art (actually, I think apathy is the enemy of everything, but that’s another column). If “Now You See Me 2” simply sucked, that would have been one thing, because “this movie sucks” is at least a way of interacting with a film. At least then I could think about why and how it failed as a cinematic work. Instead, the movie gave me no way to interact with it at all, other than “Huh. This exists.”
It is possible that “Now You See Me 2” improved in the hour and 10 minutes of the film I missed and that I’m being unfair. But since the movie proved the point I’m making here (for those of you not paying attention, my point is that movies should provoke some sort of response in the audience, even if that response is “I hate this movie”) within the first hour, staying seemed unnecessary. I’ll take 90 minutes of feeling anything to avoid spending that time feeling nothing.
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