- The gang's all here
All your favourites are back in the year’s first tentpole sequel! In the two-hour cross-canon thrill ride The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, you’ve got Iron Man chilling with Shredder at the club, Wonder Woman going #yolo with Catwoman (sexual tension: not invisible) in the country, and Thor putting his hammer to good use rebuilding Never Never Land. JK! You’ve actually got Dame Judi Dench contemplating a second chance at love with Bill Nighy (go for it!), Dame Maggie Smith telling Americans how to make tea and Richard Gere appearing as the new young blood who makes all the ladies go shoop. Dev Patel is there too, running around like ’90s-era Hugh Grant trying to keep his shit together—including an expansion, a romantic rival his fiance never reassures him about, Gere’s crush on his mom and his upcoming wedding. There are way too many subplots, including a tonally/totally bizarre one in which Norman (Ronald Pickup) thinks he’s accidentally taken a rickshaw hit out on his girlfriend Carol (Diana Hardcastle) and various and sundry wacky hijinks, but the heart of the movie is Dench and Nighy’s will-or-won’t-they unrequited love. Director John Madden smartly gives the Dames a couple of scenes together and keeps the whole enterprise light (except for the “murder” plot). Well-intentioned.