Well pat me on the back and call me shallow because instead of watching serious dramas and falling in love with the Golden Age classics, I’m looking at the screen where Tatum is shaking his booty. And I’m not even sorry. And frankly, since I don’t actually really care that much about watching a well toned piece of meat thrusting his hips, I was definitely able to focus more and I started seeing a very strong message in between the raunchy scenes: female empowerment! So, as a female myself, I appreciate Magic Mike XXL for elevating women to a strong pedestal, showing how everyone is worthy despite their looks and demonstrating men respecting all women equally.
To my own surprise, I was walking towards the cinema to see Magic Mike XXL on Monday, having never seen the first installment and walked out, two hours later, rather pleased with myself. It wasn’t what I expected, it was a little less entertaining at times, but it was still a decent little film. And when I say little less entertaining I mean the overall plot, that was rather tolerable, was a bit too dragged out for my taste and when the men weren’t dancing, I usually wanted to get the talking over with. And it’s not that the talking was necessarily bad, it was just a bit weaker than the main idea of Magic Mike XXL which of course is the stripping.
Mike (Channing Tatum) has apparently been away from the game for quite some time now. His life is filled with his job, carpeting, and not much else. I gathered, even though I hadn’t seen the first movie, that we are seeing a different kind of Mike to the one that left in the first movie, which is later proved by his outburst about his personal life. The plot is set in motion after Mike gets a prank call from Tarzan (Kevin Nash), weakest in the group in my eyes, and ends up going on a road trip adventure with the guys towards a stripper convention. Sounds more fun than it was to be honest because though there were great moments and actually amazing moments, it just felt way too dragged out and adventure-less. Besides, considering they revamp their image and then work out a routine in ONE day in the end, it’s ironic that the movie that rushes in the end, feels mostly dragged in the beginning.
That brings me to the final big dances, though I skipped most of the movie, doesn’t matter, the final performances were the moments I was looking forward to and… what a bunch of disappointments. Where was a steaming group performances, followed by minutes, which would feel like hours of worthy entertainment gold? It was so short, there was just glimpses and I sort of felt a bit betrayed. I, who hadn’t seen the first movie, had no idea what and in what amount I would be getting that entertainment but XXL refers to a BIG number.. so I want a BIG number and lots of them! But the biggest spotlight of course was on Tatum and sort of on Twitch, who gave the last steaming performance but I mean, the lead up to that was like heating up popcorn in slow motion. Sure, I get it, the shorter the performances, the stronger the need to want more but the whole ordeal in the end was still a little disappointing.
The only other performance in the final segment that was worthy of some more screen time was by Joe Manganiello as Big Dick Richie. If it were a bit longer, I would have loved it.. and would have called his scene better than the entire movie of Fifty Shades of Gray and its sequel. Though his character didn’t appeal to me, which was a common problem for me, except with Matt Bomer’s character because Matt Bomer!, I figure it’s mostly because I haven’t seen the first movie. But honestly, I don’t think the first one would have offered me a lot of extra content to go on anyway. Bottom line, I didn’t have any connection to any of these characters, but I don’t think Magic Mike’s main focus is on character development in the first place. Which is why most, if not all the characters felt a little off and unpolished in a way that I wasn’t rooting for anyone, really.
That being said, you shouldn’t walk into Magic Mike XXL expecting an amazing movie with great characters and a thrilling plot. It’s not intended to be like that, it’s supposed to be fun and I did have a bit of fun! It’s that simple, and though I know, I wouldn’t watch it again and I wouldn’t really need to keep thinking about these characters again, I would say that this type of movie works for some and it’s alright. I think I’m just too messed up to just have fun and therefore these solely entertainment oriented movies don’t really do it for me.
And quickly, as I mentioned the female empowerment in the beginning and I would like to finish on that thought. Female empowerment was probably my favorite aspect of the movie. It was all about making women happy, making them smile, and there wasn’t anything degrading about it.. which is ironic cause the opposite version of the very same action, stripping for men, is more than often shown as something degrading and embarrassing. Men who strip are worshiped, and women doing the same thing are seen more as objects which is a lot more in depth thought than Magic Mike is ever willing to portray. Then again, I wouldn’t want serious social issues rubbed into my face in between the abs and muscles and water bottle explosions either.