Director: Jake Kasdan
Writer: Jake Kasdan, Jeff Pinkner, Scott Rosenberg, Chris Van Allsburg
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Karen Gillan, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, Awkwafina, Danny DeVito, Danny Glover, Alex Wolff, Madison Iseman, Morgan Turner, Ser’Darius Blain, Nick Jonas, Rory McCann
Jumanji: The Next Level is a sequel to Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017) and is directed by Jake Kasdan, who also directed the first one. The first Jumanji followed four teenagers who accidently stumbled upon a virtual reality adventure video game called Jumanji in which they had to travel through a dangerous jungle in order to retrieve a magic jewel and return it to its original location. They were only allowed to exit the game once they successfully completed their task. Jumanji: The Next Level picks up about a year after the events of the first one, and the four friends have all gone their separate ways. They make plans to meet up for the holidays, but when Spencer (Alex Wolff) doesn’t show up, they go looking for him only to discover that he’s gone back to Jumanji. They all agree to go after him, and so the new adventure begins.
This movie is very similar to the first one, in the sense that it involves another stolen magic jewel that needs to be retrieved in order to exit the game. In my opinion, both movies have weak villains, although I still liked the villain (Rory McCann) in this movie better since I just felt like I was watching the Hound from Game of Thrones. Most of the cast does a decent job with what they’re given, although Danny Devito and Danny Glover were hilarious as always. They both steal the scenes that they are in, even though they don’t get enough screen time. Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, and Jack Black are all as good as they were in the first Jumanji, and they do a good job as the avatars in the game. Awkwafina also does a decent job in her role (which I will not reveal), although I felt like she was overacting sometimes. Nick Jonas to me was the weak point in the cast, and I think that his performance was average at best.
As I mentioned earlier, the movie is very similar to the first one, with some different action sequences along the way. Some of these sequences were fun, others not so much. Also, a lot of the comedy felt forced in my opinion, and I only remember chuckling a couple of times throughout the entire runtime (scenes with DeVito and Glover). Maybe it’s just not my type of comedy, but if you thought the first Jumanji was funny, then you’ll find this one funny as well. The special effects were very good, but I think this should be expected of big blockbuster movies at this point.
Ultimately, Jumani: The Next Level was a fun couple of hours at the theater, though nothing groundbreaking. My favorite scenes in the movie were the interactions between Danny DeVito and Danny Glover, who were both hilarious, but unfortunately they don’t get a lot of screen time. The rest of the cast do a good job with their roles, but Karen Gillan was particularly great and badass as Ruby Roundhouse, and I really hope to see her lead more action movies in the future. If you enjoyed the first Jumanji, you’ll probably enjoy this one, even though it’s really just more of the same. If you thought the first one was just average like I did, then you might want to wait a bit and rent it when it comes out on Blu-ray.
Star Rating: (6 / 10)
Have you had a chance to check out Jumanji: The Next Level? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments below!