Magic Mike XXL ★★★★


Soderberg's camera being allowed to move and zoom meaningfully gives this film a 70s feel that the first Magic Mike needed desperately. It also does a rather awesome thing. In using the long lens for the dance sequences, it turns it into documentary and gives the performances real danger. The final twenty minutes are a concert movie, which, while fundamentally different from the film they conclude, solidify every word and gesture from the rest of the movie. It's a genius fucking move. The underdog narrative comes with a grammatical big show to match the thematic one. Fabulous and actually the 70s movie Magic Mike was supposed to be. Soderberg talks a big 70s game, but he never directs like he's a fan of those movies, which of course isn't a problem, it just means that all Magic Mike ever did was nod in the direction of Saturday Night Fever. Jacobs and XXL dance with those influences. I watched Magic Mike right before XXL and it was shocking to see Channing Tatum without the heavy colour grading. He just looked like a dude. And so as an ordinary body, he can then become something greater by the end (foreshadowed by the light in his wood shop turning him back into the grey/brown Soderbergian hero when he dances to "Pony"). Magic Mike treats Tatum like a god from the word go, so he has nowhere to go but down. XXL's attitude is far less judgmental and is allowed to take joy in the stripping and Tatum and co's lithe movement, instead of waiting for the family value shoe to drop. Jacobs' images tell the story just as ably as his screenplay. It is also the most joyous filmgoing experience I've had this year, other than perhaps Fury Road, another film with delectable feminist undertones. I'll leave it to smarter parties to legitimize that. I enjoyed what I saw, heard and tapped my feet to.

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