When I see him do something like levitating onto a wall, I think to myself, "Why are you doing that, other than to show off?".
umm, you didn't really just ask why he was doing that. maybe b/c it is entertaining?
and deep down in everyone that can do something that others appreciate, do it for at least SOME self gratification. otherwise, what's the point of doing anything it all?
Let me clarify: a lot of the magic that happens in the spectator's mind is due to implication. If a magician can shuffle a deck into order, it has strong implication that he could go into a casino, play poker and in shuffling the deck could order it so all the good cards go to him. That's interesting, and hence entertaining.
In the audience's mind one of the hardest things to make appear from a silk would be some sort of livestock, especially one that appears to move a lot. Therefore for Channing Pollock to produce a dove from thin air has heavy implication that he could produce anything if he wanted - money, cigarettes, or any sort of small luxury. That is very interesting.
Criss Angel levitates onto a wall. Where's the implication? The implication, if it existed, would be that if there was something on a high shelf he could probably reach it. [sarcasm]Wow! That's so impressive![/sarcasm] The thing is that a) It is clear from the footage that he is only able to levitate onto walls or up stairs that the average person could just step up onto; b) He shows no advantage for being able to levitate.
While I'm sure there are a number of people out there who look at him and go "Wow, next time I can't quite reach that tin of Baked Beans at the supermarket I wish I were him" but personally I look at him and go, "Meh! What was the point of that?"
There's my essay response, CoryD218.