After the success of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, there was little doubt that a sequel would be made.
Jumanji: The Next Level arrives just in time for the holiday season and sees our favourite in game avatars return to save the fictional world of Jumanji from another evil threat, though this time with some ‘elderly’ help.
The sequel film takes place a few years after Welcome to the Jungle and sees Spencer (Alex Wolff), Martha (Morgan Turner), Fridge (Ser’Darius Blain) and Bethany (Madison Iseman) reunite only to be drawn back into the world of Jumanji, followed by Spencer’s grandfather, Eddie (Danny DeVito) and his friend, Milo (Danny Glover).
Naturally, being in Jumanji means the return of action heroes Dr. Bravestone (Dwayne Johnson), Ruby Roundhouse (Karen Gillan), Professor Shelley Oberon (Jack Black) and Mouse Finbar (Kevin Hart), with a special appearance by Nick Jonas, returning as Alex, and Awkwafina, playing the new in-game character, Ming.
The film as hilarious as ever, with outstanding performances by each of the cast. However, there were definitely moments that felt a bit too forced, almost as if there was a desperate need to ensure the film was as funny and outrageous as the first. Having Danny DeVito play a typical grumpy old man made for some memorable moments and personally, I found Awkwafina to be brilliant. The performances were definitely well done and character development was aplenty.
The Next Level allowed audiences to see much more of the world of Jumanji, with an exploration of a desert, as well as an area that looked almost like a mix between Elsa’s castle in Frozen and Game of Thrones’ Winterfell. Not only that but we were also treated to more visually stunning effects and scenery compared to the first film, which I thoroughly enjoyed.
Narratively, the film managed to capture my interest but lacked the same pizzazz that Welcome the Jungle had. As mentioned above, the story, as well as the goofs, seemed much too forced at times and was incredibly predictable. Nevertheless, it made for the kind of film that families are able to enjoy together on a lazy afternoon during the holidays.
Without giving away too much else, Jumanji: The Next Level was a fun-filled, entertaining film that brought back much of the outlandish humour, cheesy lines and all around good time that we were graced with in Welcome to the Jungle. Jack Black and Kevin Hart certainly shine in this film, which was a delight to see. If you’re looking for something to watch with the whole family these holidays, definitely check out Jumanji: The Next Level.