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Now You See Me 2 by Brian Tyler (Review)

posted Jul 13, 2016, 1:16 PM by Leo Mayr

Back in 2013, Brian Tyler scored the magician heist movie Now You See Me. The score, while lacking in terms of character and emotion, defined the film through highly entertaining orchestral music and even made it somewhat enjoyable. Fast forward three years and, despite less favourable reviews, we have ourselves a sequel. Tyler returns, and with him the music that made the first film so entertaining. The film once again features a group of stage magicians pulling off impossible heists. Brian Tyler is no stranger to ensemble cast films, having scored multiple entries in the Fast And Furious franchise, all three Expendables films and last year's Avengers Age Of Ultron. At this point, Tyler handling the thematic identity for several characters at once instead of creating a mess of individual themes is practically a given.

Right away, you'll notice Tyler's shift towards the magical aspects of the film with bold themes that give you that orchestral feeling of wonder and excitement. A great example here is the "Now You See Me 2 Fanfare", a piece Tyler premiered at his concert debut in London back in May. A lot of the themes Tyler composed for the first NYSM film reappear throughout the score, and while at first you'll get a few deja vu ("deja entendu"?) moments, Tyler incorporated the old themes well enough for you to stop noticing after a while. Overall, the sequel feels more polished and better structured in comparison to the first one. The tracks tie into each other far better, there are a lot more interesting segments, orchestrations and electronics. The film partly taking place in China leads to a few basic but effective cultural influences while new themes like the wonderful "Off The Grid (Walter's Theme)" expand on the ones from the first movie, perfectly blending into the film's soundscape. Tyler refines the unique and memorable identity he crafted for part one to an unexpected level. There are no boring, near silent scenes in the score, instead the music constantly manages to excite you, greatly enhancing the film for those knowing what to listen for.

As a result of Tyler's recent venture into electronic dance music, his use of electronics throughout orchestral pieces has changed quite a bit, and this is no different. Ontop of the wonderful orchestration, Tyler adds more or less subtle electronic textures to the music that will remind you of his Furious 7 score more than once. Just once, in the track "Trifecta", the electronics become too loud and dominant compared to the rest of the mostly orchestral score, but in the film's context you won't notice this minor 'bump'. Apart from this short part though, the electronics are used to great effect throughout the entire score. Besides the stunning magic show, the score is also a fun and exciting heist score, much like the first one. As usual for the heist genre, the fast paced music feels a lot more lighthearted and fun in comparison to 'serious' action scores.

In Now You See Me 2, Tyler is fully in his element, creating a wide variety of great pieces that rarely sound alike. At times, the music sounds remniscient of David Holmes' scores for the Ocean's trilogy, but the score feels unique at all times. Tyler handles the pacing between slower, emotional themes and loud bursts of excitement exceiptionally well and manages to keep the overall pace of the score exceptionally high. The excellent orchestration, great use of electronic textures and one or the other occasional tip of the hat to classic heist scores by the likes of Henry Mancini make this an exceptional blend of heist movie and magic show. One that'll not bore you for quite a while.