Jumanji and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle are two films that are fun to watch. The 1995 original with Robin Williams is a childhood classic that I can still watch and enjoy today. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, was a very different film than the 1995 original but I also enjoyed that movie. So, when I heard that a sequel for Welcome to the Jungle was coming out, I was excited to see it as I knew it would be a fun time at the theater. And while it was not as good as the first film, it was still an enjoyable movie to watch.
Jumanji: The Next Level takes place three years after the first film, where four teenagers were trapped in a video game called “Jumanji” and the four decide to meet up after going their separate ways after high school. Spencer is reluctant as he feels the others have better lives without him and he ends up deciding to go back into the game because that’s the one place he feels valuable. His friends end up going back in to get him back but Spencer’s grandfather and his old acquaintance, Milo Walker, also get sucked into the game.
Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black and Karen Gillan starred as the four main avatars of the teenagers trapped in the game from the first movie. The four all return to star in this movie and they all are great once again. Johnson is as entertaining as always as he is very cocky at times and delivers the swagger you would expect from “The Rock”. Kevin Hart is fantastic and this might be my favorite performance of the film. He portrays tension, a know-it-all, deep emotion and his usual crazed acts, all in this movie and it is a blast to watch. Jack Black brings comedy gold to this movie and I love the self-aware jokes he uses in this movie. Gillan is great as she portrays an awesome and sarcastic character and it is entertaining to watch her in tense situations.
Their performances are what make this movie and the previous one entertaining but every other aspect of this movie is passable at best.
The look of the movie is good but it is nothing special compared to the movies that are released today. The world of “Jumanji” does little to look unique as its own special world as it looks like any typical fantasy land. The only unique aspects are the video games elements incorporated into the adventure. Also, the action scenes are cool, but the fight scenes are poorly shot. The movie does a lot of super quick cuts that make it hard it to follow the fights and see what is going on.
The story is nothing special either as it is a typical storyline where the heroes must fight through the enemy to recover a McGuffin that saves the land and people. But one aspect, along with the story of the four teenagers, is the story of Spencer’s grandfather and Milo. It is a good story, but it feels like a separate story that struggles to fit into the overall plot of the movie.
Overall, Jumanji: The Next Level is a solid sequel to Welcome to the Jungle and it is a fun time at the movie theater. I recommend it if you just want to watch a fun movie and nothing complicated or too surprising.