LOS ANGELES, Feb. 7 (UPI) — The Magic Mike franchise has come a long way from the 2012 film inspired by Channing Tatum's experience as a stripper to acting.
Magic's Last Dance , which hits theaters Friday, is the perfect combination of Tatum's dance moves and showmanship.
Mike lost his furniture business due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which was a fitting way to prepare him for new opportunities. While bartending at a party hosted by Maxandra (Salma Hayek Pino), a guest tells her about Mike's previous job.
Max convinces Mike to give him one last dance, but Mike is so nice that he convinces him to return to London, where he owns a theatre. Max gives Mike the right to host a dance show, which challenges him and complicates their romance.
Mike's private lap dance for Max convinces viewers that there is more juice in this franchise. He began remodeling the space for his performance and testing the equipment he would later rely on.
Tatum, like Mike, gets really excited when he gets close enough to Max to be intimate, but never kisses or makes out. Together they create a sexual desire and can be seen to provide much needed release – in a way that is physically and emotionally safe.
Hayek plays the role of the erotic Ginger Rogers. He also does a bit of dancing, but it's more of a fiery reaction than an addition to Tatum's choreography.
Mike and Max sleep together and it's honest. Mike doesn't do this with every client, and Max keeps Mike in the dark about his plans until he takes him to the theater.
This leads to a fairly standard "put on a show" story, but the vibe of the film's dancers should surpass the moves that fans of the first two films have seen.
The dancers Mike brings together in London are impressive. They never become backstage characters, but they pull off his choreography impressively.
As auditions and rehearsals progressed, the show began to take shape. Mike isn't on the show, but he still has to play to show newcomers how it's done.
Max's radical new ideas run into trouble when Max and Mike run into obstacles. They are chosen as much as possible and luckily some of them are chosen by jumping.
The problems in Max and Mike's relationship are not so obvious. Max has an unfinished business history and his impending divorce is complicated by a prenuptial agreement.
Mike makes peace with London snobs and meets Max's daughter Jaydee (Jemelia George). Zadie is skeptical about mom's new toy, but Max's butler Victor (Ayub Khan Din) seems even worse.
The show that Mike is doing is really cool. He has a lot to say about feminism and desire, all with an epic dance number.
The Last Dance is Mike's solo show. It's about the four dancers from the previous two films, and luckily they're fine, but they'll be missed.
They're calling it Magic Mike's Last Dance, but instead of wrapping up the trilogy, it might be " Fast Five " that takes the franchise in a bold new direction. Magic Mike could be a series where Mike fills his company with new members and builds more and more ambitious shows with each sequel.
Fred Topel, who attended film school at Ithaca College, is a Los Angeles-based entertainment writer for UPI. He has been a professional film critic since 1999, a Rotten Tomatoes critic since 2001, and a member of the Television Critics Association since 2012. Learn more about his work in entertainment.