Growing up, the first Jumanji movie was my go-to movie. There wasn’t a weekend that I did not watch it on our VHS. I mean, what is there not to love about it? We have Robin Williams, lions, and a whole new world to explore. There is that special sense of adventure that tickled my fancy. So, when the soft reboot of the movie came out about a decade later, I was a bit skeptical. Jumanji starring Dwayne Johnson and Jack Black? That’s something, right? But boy it did not disappoint and it left me in stitches. The good thing is a sequel to that comes out this year, continuing in on the premise of Jumanji being a broken video game. Was it funny? Bingers, you’d want to read til the end of our review because the movie surprised me with some of its elements!
Back to the Game
We are back to the world of Jumanji and so are the four friends we met in the first movie: Spencer, Martha, Fridge, and Bethany. Time has passed since they finished the game but something is calling them back. Well, at least for Spencer. Due to a need for some personal space, he re-entered the game and into the world of Jumanji. His disappearance caused worry among his friends. In search for him, they reluctantly found themselves inside the game and along with them are the grandpas Eddie (Danny DeVito) and Milo (Donald Glover). While inside the game, they took over the characters of the core avatars: Bravestone, Shelly, Ruby, and Finbar.
Initially, I’m gonna be honest, I thought the whole thing was going to be a rehash of the things that happened in the first movie. To my surprise, that was not the case. The mix-up of the avatars and their real-world counterparts raised some interesting twists and provided a better perspective into the characters. Kevin Hart doing a subdued performance as Milo (Glover) was refreshing yet still hilarious. Johnson as the grumpy Grandpa Eddie had me in stitches! This guy is a natural! Similar can be said for Jack Black and that should not come as a surprise! Karen Gillian, while still the rose among torns, served kicks and punch making her a feminine icon despite the costume.
While the plot of the game was shallow, the vastness of the world made up for it though! This one particular scene with rotating hanging bridgea and wild monkeys had my heart pumping HARD! Jumanji: The Next Level is a far more hilarious installment to the franchise! The Rock and Jack Black had a lot more area to play around with and it was perfect. Awkwafina is a perfect addition to the cast as the avatar Ming! Also, that emotional punch towards the end? Wow, I didn’t see that coming!! It will make you laugh, it will make your heart pound, and it will make you tear up a little!
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Karen Gillian, Kevin Hart
Binge-level: 4 out of 5 stars