There’s undoubtedly a psychological, mathematical or even editorial explanation of how and why Now You See Me suckered me with its very first shuffle of the cards.

Not caring much to read a fun-sucking deconstruction of this visual deception is at least a sign this magician movie has done its job (unlike frowny-faced yawners The Prestige and The Illusionist). Although it persuasively justifies its reason for existing by the finish, the end-credits song spells it out: Phoenix’s “Entertainment.”

It’s in the pursuit of that word that magic and movies aren’t entirely dissimilar. And they share an immutable truth: You see what you want to see. So, if you want to see a nimble, snappy caper so bantamweight it might start floating from your mind a few hours after it’s over, Now You See Me fits the bill.

The film’s prologue introduces four magicians of varying skills and successes. Danny (Jesse Eisenberg) is a mid-level prestidigitator not above a street-magic hustle; Henley (Isla Fisher) is his former assistant turned Harriet Houdini. Merritt (Woody Harrelson) is a once-famous mentalist who couldn’t foresee his bankruptcy. And Jack (Dave Franco) exploits a crowd’s skepticism for some fleet-fingered pickpocketing.

After they’re summoned to an abandoned New York apartment, the film jumps forward a year. Now known as the Four Horsemen, the quartet has set up shop at Las Vegas’s MGM Grand under the financial aegis of Arthur Tressler (Michael Caine).

There, they pull off what seems to be a transatlantic teleportation of $3 million in Euros from a Paris vault. It’s the only trick the crowd sees that night, but they can’t complain … not when the money rains down on them to stuff in their pockets.

Naturally, their act draws the ire of the FBI and Interpol, whose investigation is fronted by Alma (Mélanie Laurent), a rookie French agent entranced by magic, and Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo), who can’t believe he’s been yanked from a big mob takedown to tend to a seemingly small-time case. The heist also draws the interest of Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman), a former magician who turned to exposing performers’ secrets for money and sees the Horsemen as his next big payday.

It’s not quite a spoiler to say the Four Horsemen adhere to their promise of staying several steps ahead of the increasingly frustrated Rhodes — on whom they fling very public piles of Job-like misery. And as they flee to New Orleans and New York, the question becomes: Why exactly did the Four Horsemen join forces … and who among this cast of characters brought them together?

Too often in movies like Now You See Me, great actors are minimized in service of misdirection and a constantly moving plot. Here, Eisenberg and Harrelson barely exchange glances let alone rekindle the affectionately antagonistic jiving from Zombieland. Fisher sounds like she’s got a laryngeal affliction that led to fewer lines. And Franco is merely a functionary in the film’s most furious action sequence.

Although it’s got nothing up its sleeve for any of the Horsemen, their pursuers get to play up some idiosyncrasies. There’s a believable spark between the bewildered Laurent and the beleaguered Ruffalo, and Caine and Freeman trade spiced barbs like old-pro, Oscar-winning character-actors emeriti.

It’s in their stories that the film pumps the brakes for slight subtext amid director Louis Leterrier’s go-go-go pace — about whether being mentally fleeced is all that bad if it draws a fleeting smile, and that perhaps we seek superiority in spoiling magic only because we feel powerless to conquer some of our other earthly miseries.

But Boaz Yakin, Ed Solomon and Edward Ricourt’s screenplay is far more interested stuffing sundry switcheroos into its sleight-of-hand story. It effectively primes your psyche to ferret out every little detail. And Now You See Me achieves the best that can be asked of it. More or less, the movie plays fair — if fanciful, fast and loose — and lets us choose the trail of first-act crumbs we want to follow in trying to figure out the final reveal.

If, as Arrested Development asserts, a trick is something a whore does for money, Now You See Me is a cut-above illusion. As it would be after a visit to a curbside card shark, your wallet will feel lighter by the end. But that’s the cost of good entertainment.