Let’s get the blatantly obvious out of the way from jump: the Magic Mike movies are beefcake bacchanalia. They're male full-frontal flesh fêtes. Man Candy Musicals. They're full of gyrating junk, glistening traps/lats/abs, and assless chaps on McConaughey clappas.
There I said it. No “pause” needed. No “no homo” (a violent idiom which should probably be extinct by now) required. Magic Mike shouldn’t make you macho men uncomfortable in principle or presentation. Sure, there is plenty of voyeuristic fun for the women and gay men in the audience, and quite frankly, it’s long overdue, all things considered. But this movie is as much about male strippers as Boogie Nights was about porn. And yet I don’t recall a chorus of dudebros’s protesting the latter’s existence because of Dirk’s visible foot long. Mike is a movie of stripping, not about stripping.
At its washboard core, Magic Mike is a dark character study about the perversity of ambition, the push-pull between pursuing your dreams while living a fantasy, and the decisions we make that force us to about-face when arriving at the existential crossroads. Any manly man should relate to these real-life, honest dilemmas. If a few minutes of dancing dudes cause you to feel as if your hyper-masculinity is in jeopardy while missing the broader scope and themes of the film, you need to be more like Channing Tatum’s titular Mike, who eventually learns to stop running from his insecurities!
With Magic Mike XXL thrusting its way into theaters this week, here is my case for why #AllMen should go savor the original first, then, fully liberated, join in on the fun of the sequel (which drops tomorrow).