The Four Horsemen are a group of street magicians brought together and led by Dylan Rhodes. As a public group of magicians, they performed in hotels, New Orleans, a Las Vegas stage, New York, and on the Thames in London.
The Four Horsemen were all popular street magicians. J. Daniel Atlas was a very popular illusionist, trying to impress women with his acts and attracting many crowds. Merritt McKinney was a once popular mentalist and hypnotist. Jack Wilder was just a regular sleight of hand illusionist, street magician, and pickpocket. Henley Reeves was an escape artist, a stage performer, and Daniel's former assistant.
They were all individual performers until a mysterious benefactor (later revealed to be Dylan Rhodes) left them tarot cards, telling them to meet in a building, where they find blueprints for a Las Vegas show. They manipulate a French man (Étienne Forcier) into attending one of their shows, where they activate his hypnosis and stage a bank robbery. He believes he has actually robbed the Crédit Républicain de Paris. The day after the show, the FBI arrest the Horsemen but are forced to let them go due to a lack of evidence. The Four Horsemen embark on a new show. They steal money from their wealthy benefactor Arthur Tressler and give the money to Hurricane Katrina victims who had been cheated out of insurance by his company.
They end up on the run from the police. In their apartment, Jack is left alone while the others make an escape. Jack ends up in a car chase with the F.B.I. Jack's car flips over and catches fire, ending the chase. Dylan tries to get Jack (who had been replaced by a corpse) out but only manages to get his documents. Jack is believed to have been killed. The three remaining Horsemen go out with a bang at their final show. Jack, who is revealed to still be alive, meets the other three Horsemen at a park, where Dylan reveals himself to be the creator of the magician group. They finally make it into the Eye.
At the beginning of the second movie, it is revealed that Henley has left the Horsemen within the last year. She is replaced with Lula May. Lula states: "You know what I heard? I heard that she got tired of waiting, so she asked for an out, and the eye gave it to her. But who knows, right?"
The Horsemen make plans to infiltrate the release of a new smartphone by corrupt businessman Owen Case. As they open their surprise show, they are interrupted by a distorted voice who reveals that Jack is still alive and that Dylan is the fifth Horseman who has been helping them all alone. The four flee as Dylan evades capture by his fellow FBI Agents by handcuffing them all together.
The four Horsemen jump down a tube that Jack had previously lined to a truck, however they land in carts in a restaurant in Macau instead. Chase McKinney greets them and they are escorted to Walter Mabry, a legally-assumed dead man who employs Chase. Walter reveals that they were hypnotized to sleep while in the tube and then transported to Macau, still unconscious. Walter demands they steal a computer chip owned by Case in tribute for cleaning out Arthur Tressler's account the former year, as he had invested a large amount of money into Tressler, which was lost when the Horsemen stole it all. Atlas agrees for the group and they travel to the oldest magic shop in the world to obtain supplies. Meanwhile, in America, Rhodes is forced to spring Thaddeus Bradely from jail in order to find what happened to the Horsemen.
The Horsemen infiltrate the facility and steal the chip, despite being interrogated and searched by security guard Allen Scott-Frank (Henry Lloyd-Hughes). Atlas is then confronted by Mabry, revealing that Atlas had been fooled into thinking that Mabry was The Eye. Rhodes intervenes and pretends to retrieve the device, but is captured by Mabry's henchmen and taken to a nearby yacht. There, he learns Mabry is acting on behalf of his father, Arthur Tressler (Michael Caine), whom Rhodes exposed with the help of the Horsemen in the first film. Tressler places Rhodes in a replica of the same safe that his father died in and leaves him to drown, but Rhodes escapes and is rescued by the Horsemen. They find that the chip they had stolen appears to be a fake.
Rhodes and the Horsemen broadcast that they will be performing live in London at midnight on New Year's Eve. Mabry and Tressler, thinking that they have the computer chip, make haste to London, where the Horsemen are performing a series of tricks on the streets. At the Shard, Mabry, Tressler, and Chase discover that Rhodes is still alive and capture the five, taking them on his private plane. Mabry takes the card from them, and Rhodes and the other Horsemen are thrown out of the plane supposedly in flight. However, Tressler finds that the plane has never taken off, and instead is on a barge in the middle of the River Thames, with their criminal activities being broadcast live to the world by the Horsemen in the process. Mabry, Tressler, and Chase are arrested and Rhodes, now going by his real surname, "Shrike", entrusts the information they've gathered on the real criminals' activities to the FBI, who allows him a head start to escape.
Rhodes and the Horsemen are then taken to meet the leaders of the Eye in a secret library in Greenwich Observatory. They find that the members of the Eye include Li, Bu Bu, Allen Scott-Frank and Thaddeus Bradley. Bradley reveals that he was actually Lionel Shrike's partner, and he had been masquerading as his rival as part of their planned act: he had exposed Lionel's first act planning to be dumbfounded by his second act, only to abandon the Eye after Lionel's death. Before Bradley leaves, he asks Rhodes to be his successor in the Eye's leadership and requests that the Horsemen enter a curtain. The Horsemen, along with Rhodes, go behind the curtain and find a door behind it. They enter the room and find a staircase; the camera zooms out to the stairs, forming an Eye.