Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Jumanji: The Next Level - Movie Review

The Movie: Jumanji: The Next Level

The Director: Jake Kasdan

The Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Karen Gillan, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, Danny Glover, Danny DeVito, Awkwafina, Nick Jonas, Madison Iseman, Alex Wolff, Morgan Turner, Ser'Darius Blain, Rhys Darby, Rory McCann

The Story: The gang is back but the game has changed. As they return to rescue one of their own, the players will have to brave parts unknown from arid deserts to snowy mountains, to escape the world's most dangerous game.

The Review:
After Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle became a surprise blockbuster hit, a sequel was inevitable and instantly became one of the more highly anticipated movies that is not already part of a major franchise property. Packed with an all star cast and tons of possibility, The Next Level actually does take the Jumanji crew to the next level inside the iconic game world although in some very new, unexpected, and often hilarious ways.

Back for more action are Spencer, Bethany, Martha and Fridge who are once again played by both their younger and older acting counterparts with new additions to the cast including Danny Glover, Danny DeVito, Awkwafina, and Rory McCann all playing brand new characters to the franchise. Having stayed away from any trailers or marketing materials, I was actually unaware that Awkwafina was even in the movie so when she finally appears, I was so happy and surprised. Her work in this movie is absolutely perfect although you have to watch the movie to see why as she is part of some really fun character twists that take place over the course of the movie.

The story is pretty basic and focuses more on the antics and interactions between characters instead of on the immersive game play and puzzle solving that made the first movie so much fun. There is just so much going on with the people, young and old versions, switching avatars, and relationships new and old that there really isn't much time for anything else so the Jumanji world really gets the short end of the stick this time around. Hopefully the next installment, and yes there will be one, gets back to putting the game front and center.

Jumanji: The Next Level levels up the action and cranks up the fun while keeping risks to a minimum and never steering far from what works. There's a few things I might tweak here and there but overall this movie Rock's and has lots of Hart.

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