‘Magic Mike’s Last Dance’ – Review

Steven Soderbergh is back to finish what he started, as Magic Mike’s Last Dance is the last in the trilogy. But the film feels undercooked and out of place within the series. 

This review contains slight spoilers for Magic Mike’s Last Dance.

When the first Magic Mike was initially released, the film was both a critical and commercial success. The Steven Soderbergh film was a gritty insight loosely based on Channing Tatum’s experience as a stripper in Florida. The sequel, which Soderbergh did not direct, was much more a comedy than the darker look into the tumultuous life of a stripper as the first installment. However, the third film is neither of these and feels out of place as the finale.  

Magic Mike’s Last Dance sees Mike (Tatum) as a bartender, having lost his business due to the pandemic and struggling mentally and creatively. A job at a charity gala sees our titular Mike meet Maxandra Mendoza (Salma Hayek Pinault), who offers him a rewarding opportunity that sees him dance one last time. The story follows Mike as he jets off to London for his new opportunity, which is directing a stage production with male strippers, but focused on female pleasure.

Throughout the film are bits of voiceover from Zadie (Jemelia George), Maxandra‘s teen daughter, explaining the gender themes in an attempt to give the story serious commentary; however, it feels unmatched to the content of the film. Reid Carolin wrote the screenplay for all three entries in the trilogy; however Magic Mike’s Last Dance feels so disconnected from the previous installments while also offering nothing to say. The film wants to discuss the idea of female pleasure, but only physically shows the importance of it. 

The film attempts to have a conversation about the human relationship with the art of dance, but it never gets past presenting an idea and quickly moving to the next. Magic Mike’s Last Dance shows dance as entertainment, but also connection and a form of communication. The few dances we did get from Mike are intimate and full of passion, but the dances with the other men in the film are so lackluster, and while this proves Mike is a star, it doesn’t contribute to the conversation trying to be made for how powerful dance can be. 

Mike and Maxandra’s relationship is a fascinating aspect of the film as her lifestyle is so drastically different from his. Magic Mike’s Last Dance follows Mike as he is given a new, fancy wardrobe, attends dinners with Maxandra’s wealthy friends, and finds his place in this new world. Mike never attempts to overpower Maxandra and is not threatened by her wealth. The politics of their income disparity never comes into play in a negative light, while it is joked about towards the end. Mike rejuvenates her life in a way her former partner never could. 

One of the best parts of the first two installments in the Magic Mike franchise was the brotherhood between the other dancers and Mike. While some of the former stars of the previous films make a Zoom cameo in Magic Mike’s Last Dance, there is no exploration of the bond the dancers share. While the third film allows Mike to be the star of his story, this feels like a loss for the franchise. Without even showing Mike bonding with the new dancers in London, the main themes from the previous two entries feel erased from Mike’s life. 

There is an anticipation throughout Magic Mike’s The Last Dance that feels it is all leading towards a show to remember; however, the final number feels almost anticlimactic by the time the audience arrives to it. The titular last dance is stunning and full of passion, but it isn’t enough to satisfy, given the lack of story leading up to it. The film overall feels it doesn’t know where it belongs in its own franchise or what it wants to say. Magic Mike’s Last Dance has potential in its premise, but falls flat, relying on clichés and an undercooked romance. 

Grade: C

Oscars Prospects:
Likely: None
Should be Considered: None

Where to Watch: In Theaters

Kenzie Vanunu
she/her @kenzvanunu
Lives in LA with her husband, daughter and dog. Misses Arclight, loves iced vanilla coffees.
Favorite Director: Darren Aronofsky
Sign: Capricorn

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