Film scores

Soundtrack review: Now you see me 2 – The second act (Brian Tyler – 2016)

NowYouSeeMe2
“Now you see me 2” is what happens if you wake the first score up, get it through an intense training program and also give it steroids.

“Now You See Me 2” (internationally known as: Now You See Me: The Second Act) is a 2016 American magic caper thriller film directed by Jon M. Chu. A sequel to the 2013 film Now You See Me, it stars Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson and Dave Franco, with Daniel Radcliffe, Lizzy Caplan, Jay Chou, and Sanaa Lathan; Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman also reprise their roles. One year after outwitting the FBI and winning the public’s adulation with their Robin Hood-style magic spectacles, the illusionists resurface for a comeback performance in hopes of exposing the unethical practices of a tech magnate. The Four Horsemen resurface and are forcibly recruited by a tech genius to pull off their most impossible heist yet. So we get The Hulk, Harry Potter and Lex Luthor in the same movie, plus Alfred. Should be fun. Brian Tyler returned for the score. The first one didn’t really click with me except the main theme.

This second score has promise since the opening fanfare sounds as if it was taken from Tyler’s Marvel scores. This is HIS sound and I would recognize it anywhere. I love the passion and power in this cue. I am going to miss his superhero themes now that he seems to be out of the Marvel universe. I might not be a big fan of jazzy heist scores like the first one but what Brian Tyler opens this one with is right up my alley; even the version of the “Now you see me theme” sounds more powerful. “300 seconds” is also rarely into the heist genre and makes me think of superhero spectacle. I am more and more drawn to this score; there are choral parts and emotional moments and I’m wondering if this is not Brian’s rejected score for “Civil war”.

“The setup” is the first moment when I recognize the mood of the franchise but even here the light tone of the first score is pumped up with spy movie like jazz. There’s something in
“Now you see me 2” that just works for me. The music seems to be more exuberant, more complex, more 70s style funky.  Also I feel the integration of the main theme throughout the score is better here. It sneaks up on me from many cues and I am having fun with this album! It’s James Bond meets 70s cop scores meets Avengers in the “Now you see me” universe. I am listening to “A special invitation” and feel like cheering and applauding.

Much more than just a heist score, “Now you see me 2” is what happens if you wake the first score up, get it through an intense training program and also give it steroids. It’s fast paced and entertaining. More fun, more action oriented and delivering the emotion that lacked for me in the previous album, it’s Brian Tyler at his most unstoppable. I mean, just listen to “Trifecta” and hear how much fun the composer must have had writing this. When he’s in a shape like this, you can’t find a better composer around.

Cue rating: 92 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 50 / 78

Album excellence: 65%

Highlights:

Now You See Me 2 Fanfare

Now You See Me 2 Main Titles

300 Seconds

The Setup

Revelatory

A Special Invitation

Equivoque

Trifecta

Behind the Curtain

Octa

United

Deliverance

Sibling Rivalry

The Big Finish

 

About the author

Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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