Film review: Jumanji: The Next Level
The players return to Jumanji to rescue Spencer who has become trapped but find the game has changed and nothing is as it seems.
There were low expectations for Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle, the first film in the new franchise which was seen as a mistake by many due to Hollywood’s propensity to reboot old IP.
Its success post Robin Williams was a surprise to many, with the body-swap comedy – which doubled as a critique on cliched videogame characters – proving a hit with families.
The sequel, Jumanji: The Next Level, is more of the same and picks up months after the last film left off with the four teens all re-entering Jumanji to save Spencer, who wanted an escape from his everyday life regardless of the videogame’s real-life dangers.
This time, Jumanji also traps Spencer’s grandfather Eddie (Danny DeVito) and his former business partner Milo Walker (Donald Glover). In-game, the series newcomers inhabit the bodies of Smolder Bravestone (Dwayne Johnson) and Franklin Finbar (Kevin Hart).
Hart’s and Johnson’s performance will have audiences in stitches playing up the impressions of DeVito and Glover who can’t get their heads around the concept of a video game and think they may be stuck in Florida.
The chemistry between the two leading men is one of the franchise’s main draw cards. But just as Jack Black stole the show in the first film, this time Awkwafina’s character Ming Fleetfoot drew the most laughs.
The body-swapping hijinks, which are now a staple of the series, are doubled down in Jumanji: The Next Level’s third act with the characters swapping a few times to complete the final mission. The third act is a course correct over the previous instalment, which somewhat struggled with its landing.
Ultimately, Jumanji: The Next Level is more of the same. There's nothing new here, but it remains as entertaining as ever and is a perfect family film that will undoubtedly be a popular option on Boxing Day.
Parents should note there is a small amount of swearing in the film which small children may repeat. A young child during the media screening thought it was hilarious to continually repeat “you got to be shi**ing me,” much to her mother’s dismay.
Final Verdict: 3/5 stars.
Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, Nick Jonas, Awkwafina, Danny Glover, Danny DeVito.
If you liked the movie, try:
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Jumanji, Central Intelligence, Night School, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island.
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