Sunday, April 27, 2014

A hypothetical "Now You See Me" series

So, first off, spoilers for Now You See Me.

Warning over, the movie is going to have a sequel scheduled to begin filming this movie.  I have nothing against that per se, but I think that the set up of the movie would be better followed up with an episodic series.

The movie would serve as the origin story, and the rest would proceed like Leverage or The A-Team.  "If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire the Horsemen."

Magicians protect normal people when the law fails to help.  The premise of Leverage but with "thieves" replaced with "magicians".

Part of it is that fighting the bad guys with magic is just awesome as a concept.  Another part is that while in the real world it seems like someone big enough can get away with anything, one of the things they did in Now You See Me is give a bunch of ordinary people the money they were owed by stealing it from the CEO who OKed loopholing them out of of what they were due post disaster.  Granted he was going down no matter what because the plot was revenge not justice (though two out of four of the targets were definitely dirty with strong indications that a third was a problem too.)

But another part is who you've got.

After the movie ends you've got seven characters who are likely to stick around.  Five "horsemen" and three law enforcement personnel.  I'm guessing that the character in the overlap of that Venn diagram is probably going to go straight horseman and quit law enforcement, though it's not actually necessary.

Being a movie from Hollywood it's skewed WAY male.

Anyway, non magicians first:

The one in the FBI appears to be genderqueer or at least likes role playing being female with his wife at least once a week.  He (for that is the gender he presents as) was very embarrassed, nervous, and perhaps even frightened when it was clear it was going to come out and when it did come out and one of the assholes was an asshole about it at that point BUT beyond that moment there was no, "Let's make fun of the non-conforming character," vibe.  He was loyal, smart, and capable and presented as such with no implication that he was somehow worse as a result of not being gender conforming.

The one with interpol was smart and capable too, but she was also someone who could see the wonder in the world and managed to, in a relatively short time, get someone whose entire life revolved around revenge to take joy in life.  And she did it without offering to make him the next Dread Pirate Roberts.  She was the only on in any police force who could keep up with the game.  The FBI was always several steps behind, Interpol didn't send anyone other than her, and for the brief period that they were involved the NYPD was in so far over their head that the depth couldn't even be sounded.

For the magicians:

The Fifth Horsman is the best actor of the bunch, managing to spend most of his life in a false persona without anyone ever guessing that he was faking while surrounded by people whose job it is to be perceptive.  He apparently designed the tricks that the other four were astounded by the mere blueprints of (and then implemented), he can see the long game, and ... stuff.

Stage magician male is very good at what he does, talks a great game, and happens to be an asshole.  Probably not going to deal with that last problem in the span of a movie, but it does set up the potential for a character arc.  (His opening act was extortion.)

Stage magician female seems to be equally good, is much less of a loudmouth, and is underdeveloped as a character in the movie.  We really don't learn enough about her.

Mentalist is very good at what he does and an asshole.  Same thing about potential character arc.

Street magican/pickpocket/lock picker is not an asshole.  Given that the fifth horsman wasn't openly being magician during the movie he was seriously the only non-asshole male magician shown and kind of a breath of fresh air, but he also got less development than would be ideal.  While not being an asshole, he a thief. The movie has them all become thieves, but he started out as one.  Somehow I doubt he did a thorough job of profiling those he robbed to make sure they deserved it, but, anyway, this is character arc again.  He's working with one of his heroes, the other three were above him (fifth was unknown), only by the end of the movie did he prove himself as an equal, so it's probably going to be interesting to see what comes of that.


Neither of the female main characters got to interact with another woman in the movie.  That's a damn shame.  There's no excuse.  There's a decent reason they didn't interact with each other*, there really isn't one for why neither ever interacted with another woman.  Will that be dealt with in the next movie?  No idea.  It would almost** have to be in a series just because
1 They'd be on the same side at this point and thus talk to each other
2 Every episode you've got new non-main characters and some of them would presumably be women.


Mostly, though, I just like the idea of magicians being the Robin Hood/We help the helpless team in an ongoing series.

The fact that they'd presumably bring with them a gender-queer FBI agent is just a random plus.


* Well semi-decent.  There's only one time that they could have and it would have been across an interrogation table.  But why don't we get to see her interrogation?  There are four magicians being held for interrogation.  Two are assholes, three are males.  Why do we only get to see the male assholes being interrogated?

** Never underestimate the power of ingrained misogyny.  Nothing is impossible

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