3 out of 5 stars
The first film was ridiculous and disposable but it was also kinda enjoyable – like chocolate for the eyes: comfort food that gives you a rush but ultimately not good for you if you consume too much. The sequel offers a few good set pieces and also double down on the crazy fun of Woody Harrelson and succeeds in dazzling (or is it distracting?) with its slick, overproduced imagery but essentially it is superficial, contrived and made very little sense: just like the magic tricks it depicts. To illustrate the level we are working on: in one scene when a character’s motivation was questioned during an important reveal towards the end of the film, his answer is basically he doesn’t know followed by some glossed over pseudo-philosophical nonsense. Further, the cartoony villains pose little dramatic threat and the double crosses and triple crosses make a mockery of narrative coherence. Yet, in spite of all this, you can’t turn away and you are mesmerized by its sheer stupidity and total abandonment of anything resembling logic in favour of pure unadulterated nonsensical fun. It’s like watching a demented puppy chasing after its tail: fun to watch for a while but nonetheless totally forgettable afterwards.