Jumanji: The Next Level

I’m not sure if you’d call this a sequel to Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle or possibly another installment in a series that includes Jumanji and even Zathura: A Space Adventure. After the nearly billion-dollar box office of the previous film, it was more a question of when than if the series would continue. With this strong comedic cast adding Danny DeVito as Eddie, Danny Glover as Milo, and Awkwafina as Ming; they decided to build on what they created instead of trying do the same thing as last time. I wasn’t sure if they were going to lean too much into having Danny DeVito and Danny Glover take over in the game, which thankfully they did not. Overall, we get a good edition to the series that I think gives it a reason for more.

We see Spencer (Alex Wolff) living his life alone in New York City, where he’s going to college. His friends are coming back home for Christmas and he can’t seem to bring himself to respond to their messages. He goes home only to find that his Grandpa Eddie (DeVito) is living with them while he recovers from hip surgery, and Eddie is sleeping in the same room as Spencer. The next morning Bethany (Madison Iseman), Fridge (Ser’Darius Blain), and Martha (Morgan Turner) have breakfast wondering why Spencer hasn’t joined them. Milo (Glover) goes to visit Eddie since Eddie has been ignoring him and they seem to have some past grievance to resolve. Spencer’s friends next arrive at the house to find that Spencer has gone into Jumanji once again.

Despite Fridge’s objections, Bethany and Martha convince him to go into the game to help Spencer. As they return to the game, they find Eddie is in the body of Dr. Smolder Bravestone (Dwayne Johnson), Milo is in Franklin “Mouse” Finbar (Kevin Hart), Martha is in Ruby Roundhouse (Karen Gillan), Fridge is in Professor Sheldon “Shelly” Oberon (Jack Black), and Bethany didn’t get taken into the game. The group is quickly escorted onto a plane by Nigel (Rhys Darby) and dropped in a desert. They encounter an ostrich which Eddie agitates, and it ends up taking one of his character’s 3 lives. Then they are chased by the ostriches until they manage to jump a canyon. When they get into town, they start to learn what they must do to progress the game. They run into Spencer, who is the character Ming (Awkwafina) as he is trying to accomplish a task. With the group reunited, they break up to accomplish various tasks.

The movie is designed in a very imaginative way, as the characters find themselves in a video game adventure. The video game has unusual strengths and unique skill sets for the players. The movie’s creative settings are introduced by the game’s “levels”, and they are visually engaging locations that utilize fantasy in a very successful way. I do think the personalities of Spencer and Fridge were a bit weak as they spend a lot of the movie complaining. Overall, it’s a fun edition to the series with a good mix of action and comedy. Rated PG-13.

Ryan

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