Home » Best Channing Tatum Movies, From ‘Magic Mike’ to ’21 Jump Street’

Best Channing Tatum Movies, From ‘Magic Mike’ to ’21 Jump Street’

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Best Channing Tatum Movies, From ‘Magic Mike’ to ’21 Jump Street’

When Channing Tatum started his career, it initially seemed like he would fall into the same category as any number of generic young actors that Hollywood would try to sell as new potential movie stars. Despite a few false starts with the disastrous romantic drama Dear John and the misguided G.I. Joe franchise, Tatum quickly proved that his talents extended far beyond his good looks. His surprising venture into comedy turned audiences on to Tatum’s physical humor, and he’s steadily given more mature performances by working with some of the best directors in the industry.

It was really Steven Soderbergh who understood what a quietly ambitious actor Tatum was. By casting him against type in a multitude of different genres, Soderbergh allowed Tatum to step outside his comfort zone and keep improving his craft. He’s also unafraid to take chances on projects that are totally weird; between doing the bizarre buddy cop satire Comrade Detective on Amazon Prime, voicing a haughty version of Superman in The LEGO Movie franchise, and popping up as a disgruntled passenger in Bullet Train, Tatum is never unmemorable. And the star is set to take his final bow in the Magic Mike franchise with Magic Mike’s Last Dance, which hits theaters today. Here are his best movies so far.


RELATED: Channing Tatum Showed Us a Different Side of Himself Thanks to Steven Soderbergh

Haywire (2011)

Image Via Relativity Media

There are a ton of great actors that pop in and out of Haywire, but Tatum’s character Aaron creates the inciting incident that spawns Mallory Kane’s (Gina Carano) bloody path of violence. Aaron betrays Mallory and sets up her demise, and he’s forced to react in confused fear as she seemingly emerges from the dead as she plots her revenge. Tatum is able to show a vulnerable quality that humanizes Aaron, even if we don’t sympathize with him. It says a lot about Tatum’s acting skills that someone so inherently likable could play a truly detestable villain.

21 Jump Street (2012)

Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill staring at their Captain confused in 21 Jump Street
Image via Columbia Pictures

Directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller have the ability to take the worst possible idea and turn it into a future classic. 21 Jump Street is a film that satirizes its own existence; Tatum and his co-star Jonah Hill are allowed to let the audience in on the joke that the idea of rebooting the classic series is completely cynical and that the inherent premise makes absolutely no sense. Surprisingly, the relationship between Schmidt and Jenko is somewhat touching by the very end. It’s also impressive that Tatum and this team managed to capture lightning in a bottle twice, as 22 Jump Street is among the rare comedy sequels that live up to its predecessor.

Magic Mike (2012)

Image via Warner Bros.

If you went into Magic Mike expecting to see a trashy stripper movie, you may have been surprised to see Soderbergh essentially make a 1970s character drama about the ramifications of the economic crisis. Tatum is able to reflect on our perceptions of masculinity as the star of a signature stripping show accepts his reality, but takes pride in his body. The comradery he shows with his co-stars Alex Pettyfyer and Matthew McConaughey makes the dance scenes even more electrifying.

This Is The End (2013)

Channing Tatum in This Is the End
Image Via Sony Pictures Releasing

Leave it Tatum to give the best cameo performance in a film that’s packed with cameos. In the aftermath of the apocalypse in This Is The End, the real Tatum has become a diminutive slave under the commands of the now-villainous Danny McBride. Tatum’s self-deprecating whimpers are just the icing on the cake.

Side Effects (2013)

Channing Tatum in Side Effects
Image Via Open Road Films

In another Soderbergh vehicle, Tatum took a chance on a truly unexpected role that caught audiences off guard with a shocking plot twist early on. As the former inside trader Martin Taylor, Tatum creates a very endearing relationship with his wife, Emily (Rooney Mara), that is immediately disrupted by the criminal conspiracy that Side Effects centers on. While Tatum alludes to Martin’s checkered past, it becomes clear that he is now the victim of a larger plot.

White House Down (2013)

Channing Tatum in White House Down
Image Via Sony Pictures Releasing

Of the two “Die Hard in the White House” movies that came out in 2013, Roland Emmerich’s White House Down is certainly the more comedic. In one of his best action roles, Tatum stars as a Secret Service hopeful who forms an odd buddy pairing with the President of the United States (Jamie Foxx). He shoots bad guys and delivers one-liners like a pro, but it’s the father-daughter relationship that Tatum has with Joey King that truly elevates the story.

Foxcatcher (2014)

Channing Tatum standing behind Steve Carell in Foxcatcher

It’s a shame that unlike his co-stars Steve Carell and Mark Ruffalo, Tatum did not receive an Academy Award nomination for his outstanding performance in Foxcatcher. It’s a subdued, surprisingly sensitive performance as the crucial player in a bizarre tragedy, and gives Tatum another chance to reflect on masculinity.

The Hateful Eight (2015)

Channing Tatum in The Hateful Eight
Image Via The Weinstein Company

He doesn’t pop up until after the intermission, but Tatum chews the scenery when he makes a surprise appearance in The Hateful Eight. Any actor is going to crush it with Quentin Tarantino’s dialogue, but his interactions with his on-screen sister Jennifer Jason Leigh make for a sinister delight.

Hail, Caesar! (2016)

Channing Tatum in Hail Caesar
Image Via Universal Pictures

Singing! Dancing! Defecting to Russia? Tatum’s role in Hail, Caesar! Is certainly an odd one, but his slick charisma is perfect for the Coen Brothers’ satirical deconstruction of Golden Age Hollywood. Tatum’s showcase musical number “No Dames” proves that he needs to do more musicals.

Logan Lucky (2017)

logan lucky channing tatum
Image Via Fingerprint Releasing/ Bleecker Street

Soderbergh has described Logan Lucky as “Ocean’s 7-11,” but this uproarious heist comedy does more than just laugh at southerners. It remarkably pays tribute to working-class families while also functioning as one of the most exciting and ridiculous heist movies in recent memory. Tatum’s performance is what gets the audience rooting for these heroes; it’s empowering to see the siblings Jimmy (Tatum), Logan (Adam Driver), and Millie (Riley Keough) overcome their squabbles and rob the wealthy class that’s neglected them for years.

The Lost City (2022)

Channing Tatum as Alan in The Lost City
Image via Paramount Pictures

In this fun modern revamp of Romancing the Stone, Tatum gets to play multiple roles as both the hero of author Loretta Sage’s (Sandra Bullock) series of romance novels, Dash McMahon, and the goofy actor who portrays him, Alan Caprison. The Lost City is a great fish-out-of-water story that allows Tatum to do a little comedy, action, romance, and self-deprecation all at once.

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