‘Magic for Humans’ Review: Justin Willman Pulls Back the Curtain Even Further in a Delightful Season 2

IndieWire | 12/6/2019 | Staff
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Here’s the best thing about “Magic for Humans”: Even if you’re completely convinced every trick that host Justin Willman does on camera is part of a pre-planned pact with “unsuspecting” passersby, you can still enjoy the show. If your belief is that onscreen magic is all somehow a scripted scam, Season 2 of this Netflix series still works on a beat-for-beat comedic level that’s one step ahead of your objections. Therein lies the fun. Regardless of which side of that illusion/laugh divide is the hook, these latest six episodes pick up right where the first batch left off.

Season 2 follows the same rough outline the first season did, with Willman giving a thematic overview of each episode from the comfort of a blank-walled studio. From there, it’s out to various remote Los Angeles locales to watch Willman perform sleight of hand and unveil elaborate surprises for the people who happen to be in his path.

Carry-over - Show - Season - Preciousness - Way

Another carry-over from the show’s first season is how it removes preciousness from the way Willman’s tricks play out. He can make people vanish or summon milk from unexpected places, but he and the show are gleefully willing to undercut his own expertise when the time comes. This season has multiple informative “here’s how I did it” sneak peeks and even a quick montage of Willman outtakes for good measure. There’s even a few times where Willman will let a spectator lead the process, as if they were the one who’d done all the practice and prep work, and not the other way around.

As sturdy as the show’s foundation is, Season 2 does seem to have made a slight attempt to head off certain skeptics. There are a few more unbroken takes and slightly less cross-cutting between Willman and his immediate surroundings. It helps preserve the...
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