Untimely debates: is ‘now you see me’ a good movie?

What follows is a conversation between me & Rodger Sherman, also a staff writer at The Ringer. It’s about 2013’s Now You See Me, a movie concerning magicians who steal things from places. I had assumed that Rodger, given the things I know about hlặng, enjoyed & appreciated the silly fun of Now You See Me. That, however, turned out lớn extremely not be the case. He fucking hates it. So that’s what we talked about. Because I thought it was interesting that he carried such strong and specific feelings toward it in his chest.—Shea Serrano

Rodger Sherman: Listen, Shea, I’m mad at you, và you have exactly As Long As It Takes khổng lồ Write This Article minutes khổng lồ get me to lớn stop being mad at you. You seem lượt thích a nice guy, và we lượt thích a lot of the same things—basketball; dogs; running a mile và a half & walking a half mile và saying we ran two miles—but recently we found something we disagree on. You like the movie Now You See Me, the heist movie in which a group of magicians use their skills of deception & manipulation to lớn steal millions of dollars, outsmart the FBI, and teach the world the true meaning of magic. You said it was “fun.” I hated Now You See Me.

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I have sầu never been as angry at a movie as I was when the credits started to lớn roll, và I wasn’t just angry at the filmmakers. I was angry at myself, for buying inkhổng lồ the suavely executed thiết đặt of the movie and deciding lớn stichồng around for the last 90 minutes, which is complete bonkers nonsense that falls apart under the slighthử nghiệm bit of scrutiny. Some heist movies explain what happens at the kết thúc. Now You See Me is just lượt thích, “Oh, that was magic I guess?” and hopes we accept it.

Our difference in opinions on the movie isn’t why I’m now mad at you. People are allowed to disagree on things. I’m mad at you because after that conversation we decided to lớn make it inkhổng lồ a post, & I had to lớn rewatch Now You See Me so I could argue my points better. And guess what: I hated it exactly as much as I did the first time. I felt robbed of my time on my first run-through of the movie, & then I watched it again. And this time, it’s your fault.

Shea Serrano: I was surprised to lớn learn that you didn’t like Now You See Me bachồng when you saw it the first time và am surprised again right now to lớn learn that you still don’t like Now You See Me. It’s, of course, not a top-màn chơi movie, sure. But it seems strange khổng lồ pretkết thúc that it’s not at least a little bit interesting khổng lồ watch Jesse Eisenberg (nominated for an Oscar), Woody Harrelson (nominated for three Oscars), Dave sầu Franco (smokin’ hot), Isla Fisher (nominated for 13 different non-Osoto awards), Michael Caine (nominated for six Oscars), Morgan Freeman (nominated for five sầu Oscars), Mélanie Laurent (a brilliant actress), và Mark Ruffalo (nominated for three Oscars, và also he’s the Incredible Hulk) take magic very seriously for 115 minutes. What don’t you like about it? Let’s go piece by piece through it. Let me comfort you. Let me answer your questions. Let me let you believe. Not only in magic, but also in yourself.

Sherman: So, the main thing I don’t like about Now You See Me is that after, like, 30 minutes, basically nothing makes sense. I’m fine with movies where nothing makes any sense. Except this one begins with a slichồng opening sequence explaining that magic only works because we let ourselves be deceived, and if we look closely there’s an explanation. And then nothing makes sense.

Some of the stuff plainly doesn’t make sense. One of the big heists in the movie is based around the movie’s protagonists, the Four Horsemen, putting an enormous mirror in a room & hiding a safe behind it, the same way magicians make rabbits disappear in boxes. It is not explained why, when a group of cops led by Comtháng sprint into the room, they don’t see their own reflections. (Is Common a vampire?)

Serrano: Let me jump in real quick here. Because this one is easy. Common và the other officers don’t actually enter the room. They stop near the edge of it. And since the mirror is angled downward, you have sầu to get really cthua kém to it before you’d see anything in it (they show how cthất bại you’d have sầu to get khổng lồ it later). It’s the same reason people sitting in the audience when a magician does the bunny triông chồng don’t see their own reflection as they watch.

Sherman: Got it. The entire heist was based on Comtháng seeing the mirror and being fooled & deciding not to get closer. Great plan.

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Serrano: I mean, that’s basically all of magic.

Sherman: Some other stuff makes less sense. For example: The Horsemen steal $140 million from Michael Caine, who in this movie is a stingy insurance magnate who, for unexplained reasons, decides khổng lồ sponsor the nationwide tour of a bunch of unknown street magicians. In between shows, the Horsemen triông chồng Caine into lớn revealing his uncle’s name and the name of his first pet—and then take $140 million out of his ngân hàng tài khoản, distributing it khổng lồ Hurricane Katrina victims who didn’t get payouts from Caine’s insurance company.

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Am I to lớn underst& that billionaires have the same protection on their bank accounts as I do when I thua kém my debit card? They don’t have sầu to have their retinas scanned, or swipe their fingerprints, or even, like, call up their bank or anything? There’s no two-factor authentication here? Just anytoàn thân who knows a billionaire’s mother’s maiden name và first pet can take literally all of their money with no repercussions? FYI, if you can’t answer this question, I’m gonna start Googling various billionaires’ moms’ names.

Serrano: Let me do the first thing first. Michael Caine’s character, billionaire Arthur Tressler, has invested in the success of the Four Horsemen because he knows what I’m going to lớn tell you right now: Magic is big business. David Copperfield, for example, has an estimated net worth of upward of $800 million. Penn & Teller, a magician/illusionist duo, have an estimated net worth of $300 million. You look at the Four Horsemen và see Jesse Eisenberg using magic tricks to impress women inlớn sleeping with hyên ổn who otherwise might not have slept with him. Arthur Tressler looks at the Four Horsemen và sees the possibility of making hundreds of millions of dollars for doing little more than sponsoring them to vày some shows & letting them ride around in his private jet.

As for the second thing: I have to assume that a billionaire as arrogant with his wealth & his security as Arthur Tressler might also have sầu some odd money habits, as well. He probably thought it was funny to lớn keep, lượt thích, $200 million or whatever in the same kind of checking tài khoản that you or I have. His financial adviser probably said khổng lồ him something like, “Hey, Mr. Tressler. I really think there’s better ways lớn hold this $200 million you have sầu in your Chase Bank checking trương mục.” To which he probably replied with something like, “Oh, really? Please, Mr. Financial Adviser, please give me, a billionaire, tips on how khổng lồ hold my money.” To which the financial adviser probably replied, “If you don’t need a financial adviser, then why bởi you have a financial adviser?” To which Arthur, deciding to lớn kết thúc the conversation in that way that only Michael Caine can, probably replied, “I’m beginning khổng lồ ask myself that same question.”

Sherman: OK, that’s actually good screenwriting & should be in the movie. But the lachồng of effort from Common & Michael Caine doesn’t explain the biggest plot hole in the movie. Err, holes.

There are two big twists at the kết thúc. One involves Dave sầu Franteo, the hottest of the magicians. Franco’s character specializes in whipping cards at people’s faces, picking locks, & pickpocketing, and wait, now that I think about it, he’s actually just a thief & not a magician. (It’s never quite clear whether the people in this movie are good at magic or good at doing crimes.) Anyway, he dies in a car chase, & later, it’s revealed that the whole gang faked his death. This is a big surprise because after he “dies,” we see the other three Horsemen alone in their hideaway getting really upmix and crying, even though they supposedly planned his death và nobody is watching them.