“Magic Mike XXL”
Starring: Channing Tatum, Amber Heard and Jada Pinkett Smith
Directed by: Gregory Jacobs
When “Magic Mike,” starring Channing Tatum was released, it opened to theaters full of screaming, laughing women. In fact, the theaters looked like an on-going Chippendale’s party.
“Magic Mike” was an adult dance film balancing sexual energy, fantasy with sensitive, personal, and serious issues.
Now comes the sequel, “Magic Mike XXL,” which leans too far at times into the comedy genre then leaning into a somber character study, losing all the elements that made the first Mike “magic” in the first place.
In the new film, Mike and his pals head off to a dance competition to perform one last time. We get a ton of dialogue about learning new routines, revamping old routines and staging. The film never takes us to any of that, forgetting a basic rule of filmmaking, “SHOW us not TELL us!”
And that’s a basic flaw in the film, it’s a “dance film” that is extremely limited on dancing.
One of the crucial elements of the first film was the sexual heat brought on by the dance routines.
Tatum, who began his career as a choreographer, is distanced from his co-stars in just about every scene. In the few dance sequences there are in the film, it is usually Tatum by himself as the others look on.
Tatum has a new love interest in the film, played by Amber Heard. However the romance only simmers as the two look awkward in trying to bring everything to a boil.
“Magic Mike XXL” has a few notable cameos, including Andie McDowell, Jada Pinkett Smith, Elizabeth Banks and the singer-rapper Donald Glover.
But none of these actors are really used properly and pretty much relegated to being “plot devices” used more for convenience that anything else.
In the end, “Magic Mike XXL” is a promise of excitement that’s never kept. I couldn’t find anything XXL about his film, it’s only just average.
Magic Mike XXL just does an average job and rated a C grade.
“The Avengers: Age of Ultron”
Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans and James Spader
Directed by: Joss Whedon
Rated PG -13
When Tony Stark tries to jumpstart a dormant peacekeeping program, things go awry and Earth’s mightiest heroes, including Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, the Incredible Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye, are put to the ultimate test as the fate of the planet hangs in the balance.
As the villainous Ultron emerges, it is up to the Avengers to stop him from enacting his terrible plans, and soon uneasy alliances and unexpected action pave the way for a global adventure.
The film, under the direction of Joss Whedon, gives us more of everything, upping the ante for any of the future films.
We also get to see more of the relationships and associations between the superheroes. The film as a definite appeal to it because we’re seeing into the dynamics of the team and how they interact with each other.
Also, the wicked Ultron, voiced by James Spader, has a very engaging personality making him one of the most likable villains in movie history.
As the film successfully balances action and humor with great special effects and storytelling, it gives the viewer one of the best times you’ll have watching a superhero movie.
It gets an A and is rated PG-13.