Forget the jungle! The second sequel to Jumanji (1995) and the follow up to the 2017 hit Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is ready to up the stakes with Jumanji: The Next Level.
Here’s what we think of the newest film in the Jumanji film series.
Some New Cast, Same Fun?
After an unexpected success in 2017, Sony Entertainment Pictures brings the team back together for another adventure into the videogame world of Jumanji. Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, and Jack Black all return to play their videogame characters.
Pretty much the entire cast returns along with their real-person versions Alex Wolff, Ser’Darius Blain, Madison Iseman, and Morgan Turner. Colin Hanks and his game avatar Nick Jonas also return for their roles.
This time, however, things get a little crazier and of course funnier with the addition of veteran actors Danny DeVito (Batman Returns) and Danny Glover (Lethal Weapon) added to the mix along with the lovable Awkwafina (Crazy Rich Asians, Ocean’s 8).
Switching Things Up
Director Jake Kasdan decided to switch things up (literally) as Dwayne Johnson’s Dr. Smolder Bravestone character is now inhabited by the cranky old persona of Danny DeVito. Karen Gillan, however, got to retain her character as Martha Kaply/Ruby Roundhouse. Kevin Hart’s impression of Danny Glover is also spot on as the latter now takes on the zoologist Mouse Finbar.
It’s still a little weird for us hearing Kevin Hart talk very slowly. Even as an old man, we just can’t imagine him doing so. Ha-ha!
The duo of Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart whom we last saw in Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw proves their chemistry once more.
Meanwhile, Jack Black impressed us the most with his spot-on portrayal of Ser’Darius Blain’s character Anthony “Fridge” Johnson. Don’t get us wrong. Everybody did well but Jack Black’s transformation was just flawless.
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle gave us some of the best “laugh-out-loud” moments of 2017. The 2019 sequel, Jumanji: The Next Level literally takes the fun to another level. Although, we have to say, it took a little longer for this sequel to take off compared to its predecessor. But, when it did, our mouths never stopped laughing.
Perhaps the biggest reason for quite the slow moments is the fact that the film also took the storylines to the next level giving time for some much-needed base for its characters including the newcomers – something that the first sequel did not quite explore.
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle was stupid fun while Jumanji: The Next Level tries to be a little more intelligent as it daringly explores friendship and all its frailty all while trying to keep its viewers entertained.
Karen Gillan stood out among others in the first sequel as Ruby Roundhouse and she is still as good in this iteration. But the biggest standout for us this time was Jack Black. As we mentioned, his character is now inhabited by an athletic youngster, a far-cry from the girl-y millennial that he played in 2017.
Skip or Watch
Jumanji: The Next Level tries to get the balance between storyline and fun. And it works, but not quite.
Its predecessor thrived in the box office despite facing off with Star Wars: The Last Jedi because of its unexpected entertainment value and some fans may find this sequel sub-par compared to it.
Still, for us, Jumanji: The Next Level beats out the former Jumanji by a little margin because of its better plot and storytelling.
Verdict: Watch and definitely, have some fun!
Oh, and don’t miss the mid-credits scene that hints on a possible sequel.
Here is our rating for the movie.
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