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.
Avengers: Endgame has so much happening at such a rapid pace that it’s unavoidable to talk about its plot. I’ll try to be as vague as possible about the movie until the second paragraph. Avengers: Endgame continues the story of Avengers: Infinity War where Thanos (Josh Brolin), the movie’s super villain, gathers the Infinity Stones and kills half the universe in one snap of his fingers. With this type of cliffhanger after such an iconic movie, it’s hard to imagine not seeing Endgame. Ultimately this comes off as bittersweet as it’s hard to forget how the heroes failed to prevent such a tragedy.
Spoiler time. We start off with
Clint Barton aka Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) spending time with his family. As he’s
teaching his daughter how to shoot arrows, he tells her to go retrieve the
arrow she shot. As he turns to speak to his wife we see dust behind him. He
calls to his daughter with no response and as he’s looking we see the rest of
his family turn to dust. He’s left alone in a field. Really just as the movie
starts we’re reminded of the gut-wrenching circumstances of the last film.
We then go to Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert
Downey Jr.) and Nebula (Karen Gillan) in space with Tony recording journals
saying he doesn’t think he’ll make it. Just as Tony is falling asleep he sees a
bright light which turns out to be Captain Marvel/Carol Danvers (Brie Larson).
She brings them back to Earth. Tony is in bad shape and they quickly consult
with War Machine (Don Cheadle), Captain America/Steve Rogers (Chris Evans),
Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), and Thor (Chris Hemsworth). They learn the
Infinity Stones have been used again and Nebula confirms the location of
Thanos. They fly off to meet him and quickly defeat him in battle. They learn
Thanos used the Infinity Stones to destroy themselves and in frustration, Thor
unceremoniously kills Thanos.
The movie then skips to 5 years
into the future. We’re shown Steve Rogers in a support meeting for those who
have lost those close to them. He explains in the meeting that this has
happened to him before when he was trapped in the ice, so he’s not unfamiliar
with how others feel. We cut to a warehouse where a rat is crawling around some
equipment and it activates a portal to the Quantum Realm that brings Scott Lang/Ant-Man
(Paul Rudd). He looks around the world confused, unaware of what happened. He finds
his daughter to see that she’s much older. We learn that time hasn’t moved for
him since he entered the Quantum Realm, and that the unusual way time flows may
be the key to fixing this world.
This movie provides about as climactic of an ending to the Marvel Cinematic Universe thus far as well as to this story of Thanos. Going back to Iron Man, I don’t think many would expect something this grandiose at the other end. The Russo Brothers really created something that encapsulates an era of film making. While there are some flaws in the movie, they’re negligible in the broad scope of things. I recommend catching up on some of the past movies before you see this one. There are even some inside jokes with the comics. Rated PG-13.