It’s absurd. But as long as you’re the kind of person who can get on-board with the whole “this movie is getting exponentially more wack with every passing second” vibe and are willing to follow the adventure blindly and obediently, it’s quite a fun time. However, if you want reasonable ceilings on the suspension of disbelief factor a la NYSM1, look elsewhere. This movie takes its predecessor’s questionable ending and ups the “dafuq” count by ten.
Spoilers up ahead.
There’s three big “magic” sequences in the film, and personally I feel the first is the best. It’s juuuuuuuuust believable enough that you buy it the whole way through, while also being super, SUPER fucking cool. It’s a back-to-back-to-back ensemble montage of Atlas swapping costumes and flipping hors d’oeuvre trays into briefcases in plain sight, Jack being a banana-wielding security guard in disguise, Lula playing master chef and McKinney luring men into dark closets with cameras. The whole thing flows seamlessly, forces you to pay close attention and at the same time asks that you sit back, relax and enjoy the show. It’s perfect.
Sequence two is what I hear most people like the most, but for me it destroys the tightrope walk between impossible-and-feasible that the first act put on. This one features a single playing card being shuffled between the four during a security interrogation, and it’s so ridiculously out of control how competent the four horsemen are with card throwing that at a point it just looks like they have the force. Does it look cool? Yes. But suspending disbelief during this sequence will require a fundamental lack of knowledge as to how everything in the real, physical world works.
The third sequence recaptures a bit of the realistic-yet-nuts charm of the first act, though this one is bogged down heavily by plot and narrative interruptions. Basically, it starts up cool stuff and then cuts it all short to detail the next plot point, and it does this over and over until the credits roll and you feel like you never really got a finale.
The moral of the story? Go see it in theatres because the magic spectacle deserves a big screen, but if you can only stay for the first thirty minutes understand you won’t be missing too much.
On a side note, Brian Tyler’s score for the sequel is even better than the original, so go see it in theatres if for nothing else than to hear his magic guitar and synth chime melodies through some big-ass speakers.