After the extraordinary success of critics and audiences, Magic Mike’s Last Dance unleashes the third installment of the Magic Mike franchise. The creative team, helmed by director Steven Soderbergh, returns with Channing Tatum reprising the role of Mike Lane.
The story penned by Reid Carolin — already author of the first two chapters of the saga — begins with Mike (Channing Tatum) who is broke and makes a living as a bartender in Florida clubs. During a gig at a benefit of the wealthy Maxandra Mendoza (Salma Hayek Pinault), he is asked for a dance that will change his life. His seductively ebullient moves conquer the woman who lures him with an offer he can’t refuse. They fly together to London, where she wants to renew the show she is producing at the theatre she owns in the West End, The Rattigan. Isabel Ascendant needs a makeover and Maxandra has found the director-choreographer she considers fit for the job. The acrobatics on stage will intertwine with the somersaults of the heart that will draw the protagonists closer than ever.
The plot is ludicrously outrageous as it tries to reverse the Pygmalion archetype. In Magic Mike’s Last Dance an affluent divorcée-to-be, who fights her ennui with a new project, forges into a portent a fallen from grace ecdysiast. Meanwhile, her butler Viktor (Ayub Khan Din) and her egghead daughter (Jemelia George) are the supporting characters who provide a layer of depth to the story. Especially the latter, who serves as narrator as she expounds the power of dance through a reflection that aspires to be satirically sociological.
The strength of this zany blockbuster is undoubtably the complexity of the bump-and-grinder dance routines, that provide an effective extravaganza show. Broadway meets the West End, thanks to a phenomenal cast of dancers who truly steal the show. Also the non-musical actors are exceptional, even though they are framed in stereotypes that range from the Sugar Mama to the misfortune but willful young man, from the judgmental Gen Z bookworm to the contemporary version of Jeeves.
Some nostalgia kicks in when we are fleetingly shown Mike’s stripper friends from the previous film, Magic Mike XXL: Kevin Nash, Joe Manganiello, Adam Rodríguez and Matt Bomer. The yearning is enhanced while reminiscing the very first film of the franchise that was released in 2012 starring also Alex Pettyfer and Matthew McConaughey. That was the time when the Americanised version of The Full Monty was truly groundbreaking and entertaining.
Despite the change of scenery (we move from the stars and stripes land to the British capital) and the new cast, Magic Mike’s Last Dance is a rehashed repetition. It tentatively attempts to revamp a box office hit and probably manages to pull it off by the skin of its teeth, for one last dance.
Final Grade: C-