Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan
Director: Jake Kasdan
Running Time: 123 mins
Jumanji: The Next Level is an American film and the sequel to Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle.
Given the popularity of the original Jumanji from the 90s, the success of the excellent reboot, Welcome To The Jungle, in 2017 was a real surprise. And when it comes to the reboot’s sequel, things are just as good once again. Featuring funny, action-packed and fast-paced blockbuster entertainment throughout, Jumanji: The Next Level is undeniably brilliant fun from start to finish.
Admittedly, there’s not much difference between The Next Level and Welcome To The Jungle, and the few things that the sequel does change up don’t really gel as perfectly. However, with a solid attitude of not fixing what isn’t broke, The Next Level has all the same fun factor of its predecessor, and with yet more delightfully charismatic performances and great laughs, you’ll be hard pressed not to have a great time.
So, simply put, if you enjoyed the last film, then you’ll surely enjoy this sequel. It might not be the world’s most original, cerebral or striking watch, but it’s an unashamedly entertaining blockbuster, with fun and laughs right at the centre of its focus from beginning to end.
And there are few places to look beyond for great fun and hilarious laughs than the film’s cast, which is full of A-list heroes, charismatic performances and yet more fantastic action credentials wherever you look.
With Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan and Jack Black once again playing the main avatars in Jumanji, their chemistry and charisma is unchanged, and as a lead quartet they prove immensely entertaining at every moment. The difference from the last movie, however, is that the four play the incarnations of different people from the real world, not the same four friends as last time.
With the game busted from the beginning, some of the same people make it into the same avatars, and some don’t, opening the door for more confused hilarity from the start. In that, we get a bizarre but inexplicably hilarious pair of performances from Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart as Danny DeVito and Danny Glover respectively.
The group dynamic of the lead quartet doesn’t work quite as well this time round with those character changes, but The Rock’s impression of a typically wise-cracking DeVito is priceless, and Kevin Hart is a strange delight as a mellow, older Glover.
The performances are where a good heap of the film’s biggest laughs come from, because with such a similar story and feel to the previous movie, the satire on video game tropes and such isn’t quite as fresh this time round. There are still a good bunch of gags poking fun at video games, but it’s not quite as big a draw for laughs as the last film.
When it comes to the story, it’s all pretty much the same as the last film. The Next Level lacks the same surprisingly enjoyable team dynamic of Welcome To The Jungle, and while it still impresses with the odd heartfelt moment between its main characters, it is once again another fairly generic and simple adventure movie.
But with such great action once again, a screenplay that’s full of laughs wherever you look, and an immense capacity for fun and excitement right the way through, Jumanji: The Next Level is still an excellent blockbuster, and a thoroughly satisfying sequel to its equally enjoyable predecessor, so that’s why I’m giving it a 7.5 overall.