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Magic Mike 3 review (2023) - It is time to get off the pony

Magic Mike may be one of our favourite movie franchises, but despite Channing Tatum's and Salma Hayek's best efforts, Magic Mike's Last Dance stumbles.

Our Verdict

Magic Mike 3 is fun and has steamy dances but lacks the story needed to close this beloved franchise with a bang.

Since 2012 Magic Mike has been a series packed with likeable characters, mesmerising washboard abs, and, best of all, feel-good depictions countering toxic masculinity. Channing Tatum has continuously stunned the world with his portrayal of the stripper Mike Lane who is constantly looking for the next step in his career and life. However, as the new movie, Magic Mike’s Last Dance shows – Mike’s time in the sun is up, and it may be high time to get off the stage.

Directed by Steven Soderbergh, Magic Mike’s Last Dance is an international spectacle that takes Mike Lane (Tatum) all the way to the West End in London. With his furniture business bust, thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic, Mike is working as a bartender for the rich and famous in Florida. His booze-filled gig puts him into the sights of the newly separated Maxandra Mendoza (Salma Hayek) – and as you can guess, sparks fly.

Maxandra manages to coax Mike into giving her a private lap dance that turns into a full-on steamy montage where gymnastics are the order of the day and clothing is optional. So impressed with his performance, Maxandra then convinces Mike to come to London, where the two set out to produce a new play – one that embodies female empowerment, sexual freedom, and of course, plenty of hot new dancers dominating the stage.

Where Magic Mike’s Last Dance shines is in its action scenes and through the raw chemistry of its main stars. As expected, all the dance sequences are sexy, brilliantly performed and filled with hypnotic camera angles. Tatum and Hayek also steal the spotlight with their relationship, constantly pulling viewers into their charged romantic dynamic.

However, once heart rates calm down and the theatre house lights come up, you can’t help but notice that Magic Mike 3 is a film suffering from paper-thin conflict and is missing the captivating focus on characters that we’ve seen in the first two romance movies.

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While producing the new play, Maxandra constantly references to her ex-husband, trying to control her by stopping the show from reaching its opening night. Attempts to get the show taken down are made, and money is thrown about. However, scenes between Maxandra and her ex are limited at best. Her ex also doesn’t seem invested in her new activities at all and states point blank that he, the movie’s villain, is acting on his absent mother’s behalf instead of his feelings.

With no real sense of history between the two characters and all the obstacles thrown at the play’s development feeling half-hearted, it is hard to fully care about Magic Mike’s Last Dance’s story. In short, there is a lack of tension and stakes when it comes to the film’s main goal – getting the show made. Characters are also lacking. In past Magic Mike movies, we met all of Mike’s co-workers, became invested in all their stories, and could laugh and celebrate the joyful moments with them.

Magic Mike 3 review: Mike and Max dancing on stage together

In comparison, Magic Mike’s Last Dance doesn’t even say the names of the majority of its new dancers, and other fresh faces, such as Maxandra’s daughter Zadie (Jemelia George), are never given enough screentime to form a connection with audiences or Mike Lane himself. Unfortunately, Magic Mike 3’s problems don’t stop there.

Strange storytelling devices plague the drama movie that, even if you are the kind of fan who purely watches Magic Mike for its sexy sequences and aren’t fussed about story, gets in the way of enjoyment. In the first scene of the film, we are greeted by a voice-over of the pre-teen Zadie, who acts as the flick’s narrator from then on out.

Now, having an underage girl’s voice guide us through a film about strippers and the story of her mother embracing her sexual desires is already a bit odd. But when this voice-over also features sections of less than age-believable intellectual dialogue discussing how ‘dance’ transcends class structures and comes from Zadie, who we barely know– well, it’s hard to get on board.

Magic Mike 3 review: Mike lifting up his shirt for Max

Unlike past Magic Mike movies, Magic Mike’s Last Dance feels disconnected from its audience. Although we get the music, the on-stage performances, and the screaming crowds – we are missing heart. In many ways, it feels as if we are just passively watching the stage show of Magic Mike Live, instead of following a cinematic story where we can connect with the players and their goals.

We are kept at arm’s length, can never fully invest in the plot with lacking conflict, and worst of all; we can’t lose ourselves in the adult fun of the dances as a child’s presence and voiceover is always there to keep us in check. Magic Mike is one of the best feel-good movie franchises and is immensely fun. However, despite the immense talent of both Tatum and Hayek, the final film in the beloved series just couldn’t stick its landing.

Magic Mike’s Last Dance hits theatres on February 10, 2023. For more information, check our guide on how to watch Magic Mike’s Last Dance. For more releases, here is our list of all the 2023 movies that we can’t wait to see.