I have, somewhat reluctantly, conceded to liking Channing Tatum. I didn’t want to, because I remain unconvinced that he isn’t some kind of real-life Encino Man, but he’s just so nice and uncomplicated and he’s been so smart with his career over the years that I have to give it to him. Channing Tatum is an appealing celebrity and a legit movie star. (Lainey: he wears people down. He's lovely and kind and delightful! Ok continue, Sarah. Rain on it. Rain, rain, rain, April rain.) But everyone has their limits and CTates has hit mine.
All year he’s been talking up his desire to play Gambit, the card-throwing Cajun mutant from the X-Men franchise first played by Taylor Kitsch in the truly awful Wolverine: Origins. Tatum is from the South, Gambit is from the South, and that seems to be as far as this logic is extending. Tatum would be a horrible Gambit, just as Kitsch was a horrible Gambit before him. Anyone would be a horrible Gambit because Gambit is the dumbest superhero there is.
Yes, he’s dumber than even Hawkeye, traditionally the most useless superhero. Hawkeye has a dumb (non)power, but HE is not dumb. Hawkeye is so not-dumb as a person that there is a tremendous comic book run dedicated to how formidable he can be in and of himself. Gambit, however, is a dumb person. Alex Pappademas at Grantland did a great breakdown of all the reasons Gambit is stupid, and it basically amounts to Gambit not being a real character so much as a walking amalgam of bad ideas who has what should be a kickass power—telekinetic energy—and uses it to throw explosive PLAYING CARDS at people. What’s the max range on that? Three feet?
But people love Gambit because he’s usually depicted as Wolverine’s wise-ass sidekick—the role Kitsch played in the movie, too—but that’s not what we’re talking about here. Tatum wants to play Gambit in his own movie. A character who never has a good idea of his own and who is made up of bits and pieces of other, better characters (Jean Grey’s power, Storm’s backstory, Wolverine’s snark) is expected to captivate an audience for two hours? They haven’t even figured out how to get Wolverine—one of the all-time greatest comic book characters—to carry his own movie. Poor dumb Gambit, he doesn’t stand a chance no matter who plays him.
The best thing to ever come from Gambit’s general direction is this sketch about Professor Xavier firing him from the X-Men. Because that’s what a Gambit movie would be—Professor X laughing in Gambit’s face and denying his application for the team.