Arthur Tressler is the secondary antagonist of the 2013 film Now You See Me and it's 2016 sequel; Now You See Me 2.
He was played by Sir Michael Caine, who also portrayed Dr. Robert Elliott in Dressed To Kill, Michael Jennings in On Deadly Ground, and Chester "Arthur" King in Kingsmen: The Secret Service. Michael Caine is also best known for portraying Charlie Crocker in the 1969 Italian Job film and Alfred Pennyworth in The Dark Knight Trilogy directed by Christopher Nolan.
Now You See Me
Arthur Tressler is a banker who serves as the benefactor for The Four Horsemen, the main protagonists of the film. He accompanies the four to New Orleans, where the Horsemen will perform their next show. A few hours before the performance was about to start, Tressler had an argument with Thaddeus Bradley, the film's main antagonist. Later that night, Tressler is invited to become part of the audience to the performance. Unbeknownst to Tressler, the audience was composed of people insured by Tressler's company whose bank accounts have either been denied or reduced by the company. It is then revealed later in their performance that the Four Horsemen stole millions from Tressler's bank account and, much to Tressler's frustration, The Four Horsemen distributes the money to the audience in front of him and escapes, leaving Tressler to face the people's wrath.
Later, while Tressler is drinking some liquor at a bar and mourning his loss, he is approached by Thaddeus Bradley. Tressler then offers Bradley a large sum of money and hires him to humiliate The Four Horsemen, which Bradley gladly accepts.
Now You See Me 2
Tressler returns in the sequel, taking on a much more villainous and darker role than the first film. It's revealed that he has a son named Walter Mabry. They appear as the two main antagonists. Eighteen months after The Horsemen outwitted the FBI and ruined Tressler's reputation, they have been hiding ever since. Tressler who still lusts for revenge for what the horsemen did to him, hatches a scheme to lure them out of shadows in order to bait them while using his son, Walter Mabry to execute the plan on his behalf. He once again employs Thaddeus Bradley to bring the horsemen to him, in which Thaddeus succeeds in delivering Rhodes who Tressler then locks in the same safe his father died in and drops him to the bottom of the river, leaving Rhodes to drown. Unbeknownst to Walter and Tressler, Rhodes survives and the horsemen who hold the stick in their possession devise a plan to expose Tressler and Walter by broadcasting a message that they would reveal Walter's plan to the whole world. Mabry and Tressler fly a private jet to London to prevent the Horsemen from revealing his sons' identity, Walter calls Thaddeus in order to receive the instructions on the horsemen's whereabouts, he must look for a pattern to track them down. Later on, the horsemen deliberately expose themselves to Walter's henchmen who capture them as part of the plan, Tressler then reveals himself as the mastermind of the plot and sarcastically remarks on "how nice it is to see them again" while they are taken to the jet. Upon arriving in his jet, they enter the jet which they believed has taken off but is actually deceived that it didn't. Whilst onboard, the horsemen argue with each other constantly, blaming one another for the plot's failure while manipulating Walter and Tressler into believing they have won and are really broadcasting their criminal activities. Walter then asks Merit's brother, Chase what they should do with them to which he replies to toss them out of the jet, unknown to Chase, he was actually hypnotized by Jack into tossing them out of the jet. Walter orders one of his henchmen to throw the horsemen one by one out of the jet while laughing hysterically as he believes he has won, however, the Horsemen were simply tossed into a mat underneath the jet and the wind was a turbine. Arthur and his son Walter believed they have killed them and celebrate their success with a drink only for them to spit it out due to its flavor when the color changes. It is revealed as they come out of the jet that they were manipulated into believing they won and that their criminal activities were exposed to the world. As a result, Tressler, along with his son Walter, and the rest of their henchmen were arrested with Rhodes giving gathered information on their activities to the FBI.
- Tressler is one of the two main antagonists in Now You See Me 2 because even though Walter was the one driving the plot, the plot was hatched by Tressler and his son Walter, while Walter kept secret his father being Tressler until after Dylan Rhodes is captured by Walter with help from his minions.
- Tressler is the most recurring villain in the duology because, despite appearing as the secondary antagonist in both films, the main villains of both films only appeared once. He is also indirectly responsible for Dylan's desire to avenge his father's death (which is why the Horsemen drained his bank account), which in turn inspired Walter to get revenge on Dylan and the Horsemen. So essentially, Tressler is the overarching villain of the franchise.