I am going to be completely honest here, I am probably one of the very few women in the world who never saw the original Magic Mike. A friend, however, was able to get some advanced screening tickets of the latest foray into the world of strippers, and morbid curiosity won me over to see it.
Very quickly we do get an idea of who the characters are, and it's basically that Mike (Channing Tatum) is someone who is hard working, but bored of his every day life after having left the business, while the other guys are still finding themselves and what they truly want beyond stripping.
He gets news that Dallas is dead, which turned out to be a prank, the guys just wanted him back to do a stripper convention at Myrtle Beach. Matthew McConnaughey and Alex Pettyfer did not reprise their roles, so it was written into the script that they had flown the coop to Europe and left the gang hanging.
The movie quickly becomes one of those buddy road trip movies, with Mike finally agreeing to join the guys on their last big hurrah at the stripper convention. There are a lot of mishaps along the way, including a car accident, needing to come up with a new routine so that they didn't do the same shows already performed in the previous movie, and each of the guys airing their grievances about Mike having left, most notably Ken who ended up punching him in the gut after much egging on.
Much of the fun was in the guys just egging each other on, in fact, either doing a drag show or even having Big Dick Richie strip for a girl in a convenience store, rather tastefully actually, to "I Want It That Way".
Another theme in the movie, however, was the surprising one of empowering women and making sure that every one of them was treated special. This is where Rome (Jada Pinkett Smith), the stand-in "Dallas" of the film comes in. She makes sure to let every woman know that she is a queen, from the most gorgeous to the most plain looking, and she keeps the boys in order. In any scene where a woman was involved, in fact, that girl was treated like she was a queen and the only one that the men had eyes for, and honestly it was almost hotter than the actual stripping, like when Ken sang to the one woman the song "Heaven".
Magic Mike XXL was an all around decent film. There was an enough stripping to keep the girls clapping and whooping as though we're in the club ourselves, and enough story so that is was more than that. I am not sure that there was a whole lot of character development as much as the characters just finally admitting what they really want, but on the whole it was enjoyable with a terrific cast including Joe Manganiello, Matt Bomer, Heather Heard, Donald Glover and an appearance by Elizabeth Banks.
Definitely something to enjoy for the ladies.