Its best moments are those like Mike dancing in his workshop: physicality as pure expression. Still, no matter how positively sex is framed in the film, there's still something a bit distasteful about the gender politics of lines like "a little yes and a little no" or "you got your smile back." The first film avoids this by ridiculing Mike's routines narratively, while enjoying them as aesthetically.
Objectively speaking, Tatum can dance! Step Up films are a guilty pleasure, and while I may be heterosexual, one can applaud the man for a job well done here. The narrative is not the worst either - there is clarity in the formula.
Magic Mike XXL is a classic example of a film which knows exactly what its audience wants and when to give it to them. Soderberg's touch is felt in the shot design and editing, both smart and functional as always. Best scene is the gas station Backstreet Boys dance. Classic. And Matt Bomer sure is easy on the eyes. I found myself laughing a lot and joining in with all the straight women clapping. Very fun indeed!
You could be excused for missing that Magic Mike XXL is a major achievement. It is. Executed w/ seemingly-throwaway precision, there is panache here. The placement of men as objects of desire is not that special, but is laudatory. However, the positing of such men as subjects directed towards the disentanglement of feminine desire from the meshes of cultural estrangement is wonderful. I smiled a lot.