Jumanji: The Next Level

Swanner: Right away I was trying to figure out how there was going to be a sequel to the Jumanji reboot. I mean, they destroyed the game after they arrived back to the school. Well, it turns out that Spencer went back to get the game and had it hidden in his basement. After feeling down after his sort of break up with Martha, he goes back to the game to see if he can regain that confidence he felt walking around in Dwayne Johnson’s body for an adventure. The problem is that his friends go to find him at home, only to find the game and to make the decision of going back into the game to save their friend. 

Director Jake Kasdan and his co-writers Jeff Pinkner and Scott Rosenberg take us back to try to live through another level of the game. They have made sure that everyone is back for the fun, with a few new characters both at home and in Jumanji. One really fun element they added is that not everyone ends up playing the same characters from the last time, which adds to lots of awkwardness and laughs. I didn’t think this new level was as hard as the first level, so that was disappointing, but they did add some familiar elements from the Robin Williams original, which was a nice touch. 

As I mentioned, the original cast is back with Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, Jack Black, Colin Hanks, and Nick Jonas. I also mentioned some new folks including Awkwafina, Danny Devito, and Danny Glover. They all bring good energy to the film. Since this is a sequel, it does lose that “Wow” feeling from the reboot, but that is how it goes. The extra characters do weigh things down a bit, with too many different storylines, even though I couldn’t tell you which story to cut. The best I can suggest is to see the reboot, and then go to the theater and see what happens to our heroes as they take us back to Jumanji.

Swanner: 3 stars

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