I know exactly what you're thinking. That is, if you're thinking that this film is just sex on a stick. And you're probably not wrong, but you're not entirely right, either. Having seen not even the full original film, this film was an amazing improvement.
The cast was a great ensemble, they really clicked from the moment you saw them and their banter was on point. I feel like this kind of stuff writes itself, because it seemed so effortless, even with so many different characters. I also feel like this could have been a hot mess with so much testosterone on screen, but it really only made it better.
I suppose the people who made this film knew exactly who their target audience was, but aside from the fact that these men were scantily clad in various thongs and not much else, I feel like it was very mature, or very appropriate. Of course, there were times when it went from 0-100 in about three seconds in regard to the intensity of the dance routines, but it just reminded you of exactly what movie you're watching because you spend a lot of time in character development and plot progression.
Jada Pinkett-Smith was the replacement for Matthew McConaughey. But she was way more than that. Pinkett-Smith was phenomenal, and she was inspiring and incredibly independent, comfortable in her own skin. She was the Emcee for the characters, and she sold it completely. She only reinforced the concept that women should feel empowered and worshipped in every way possible not just, that way. Which brings me to this, representation. The women that the characters picked out of the audience weren't all the same, some were white, some were African-American, some were larger, and some were smaller, taller or shorter. It was reassuring to see that they weren't just going for the stereotypical women who always seem to be in the forefront of hollywood, they were all diverse and they were all beautiful.
Now, this film is one of the few that might just be better than the original. But even if it was better, it maintained the same mood and style of the first one, it felt like a sequel, a good sequel. And even after all of the dance routines, after all of the money-throwing and screaming women, it's the emotional issues that seem to occupy just as much screen time, if not more.
At the end of the day, it was an enjoyable film - if you're into that kind of stuff - and it was a genuinely happy film. This is mostly because - and this can be a good or bad thing - there was no discernible plot consequence. Sure, there was a plot, and there were destinations, but there wasn't anything to lose or gain because the Stripper Convention wasn't a competition. This whole film was about the journey - and it was kind of about the destination. And I suppose that was what took the stress of a normal film, you're able to enjoy the moment as it happens because it's just a moment, they're not losing or gaining anything.
And as usual, this kind of mix of emotional context and pure entertainment leads the audience to see that this film that has disguised itself as a male entertainers film has proved itself more than that, while not denying even a little bit that that was what they do. Magic Mike XXL is a movie that doesn't need too much thought, it doesn't need a serious lens to watch it, it's just an entertaining movie that does just that; entertains.