Jumanji: The Next Level (2019)

Jumanji: The Next Level
Director: Jake Kasdan
Writer: Jake Kasdan, Jeff Pinkner, Scott Rosenberg
Sequel to: Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, Karen Gillan, Awkwafina, Nick Jonas, Alex Wolff, Ser’Darius Blain, Madison Iseman, Morgan Turner, Danny DeVito, Danny Glover, Rhys Darby, Colin Hanks, Rory McCann
Seen on: 13.12.2019

Plot:
It’s been a year since Spencer (Alex Wolff), Martha (Morgan Turner), Fridge (Ser’Darius Blain) and Bethany (Madison Iseman) returned from Jumanji. They finished high school and each set out on their own life. But now the holidays are coming up and they can’t wait to meet again. Only Spencer isn’t actually happy with his life and when his grandfather Eddie (Danny DeVito) tells him that now is the best time of his life, Spencer decides that he’d rather be Bravestone (Dwayne Johnson) again. When his friends, his grandfather and his grandfather’s friend Milo (Danny Glover) all come looking for him, they all end up in the game – and things are different than before. Very different.

I was very pleasantly surprised by Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, so I was a little worried that Jumanji: The Next Level would turn out to be the film I feared JWttJ would be. But I’m happy to report that it was a whole lot of fun again.

The film poster showing Bravestone (Dwayne Johnson), Oberon (Jack Black), Mouse (Kevin Hart) and Ruby (Karen Gillan) standing with a black  horse at their backs

Jumanji: The Next Level is an absolutely fantastic sequel, hitting just the right balance. It introduces some new elements to the Jumanji world and a couple of new characters, but it hits the tone of the first one again very nicely. While the novelty of the concept may have worn off a little, those new things do make up for it. It’s rare that a film and its sequel feel so coherent, so compliments to the script writing team for that.

Not all the jokes worked for me, but definitely enough of them to keep me laughing. The pacing was nice, too, so there really wasn’t much time to grow bored or discontented with anything as the film moves along.

Bravestone (Dwayne Johnson) in the jungle.

They emphasized the body-swapping even more here, with multiple swaps and while I commend the cast for going along nicely with it and doing a great job with the performance, it was, maybe, a tad too much. Especially because they never leave the surface of the gender and race issues that pop up through the swapping.

Bravestone’s backstory and ex-romance had me crying with laughter, it was just perfect with the tropes and that’s not the only thing the film gets very right. Overall, JTNL is perfect popcorn cinema.

Seaplane (Nick Jonas), Bravestone (Dwayne Johnson), Ruby (Karen Gillan) and Ming (Awkwafina) in a snowy landscape.

Summarizing: pure entertainment.

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