Jumanji: The Next Level – Film Review
After the surprisingly good film that was Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, the inevitable sequel – The Next Level – has rolled up very quickly.
Cue sketchy reasons to get the original characters back into the situation they were in before, throw in a couple of new characters – including senior citizens played by Danny De Vito and Danny Glover – and make things a bit bigger than before to throw some good twists in.
Jumanji is still a heavily video game influenced fantasy adventure film with strong comedy overtones, though, and even though we see some of the character dynamics change for plot reasons it’s definitely more of what you’ve seen in the first film.
We’ve left the jungle location seen in the first film as The Next Level shows more variety, from desert to tundra, and mountainside.
Another added character, played by Awkwafina, also brings along some more diversity into the film but she’s not there for the ride either as she puts in a fine performance.
The characterisations that were strong in the first film are continued here but the Breakfast Club vibe has been a little watered down with the introduction of De Vito and Glover to change things up.
Enjoy the banter and bickering, though, as that is definitely the glue that binds the different parts of this film together.
The challenge of portraying the new characters certainly gives the original actors something to get their teeth into while dropping enough call backs to remind people of how good the first film was.
The action set pieces are remain good even though some scenes feel unnecessary towards the end – especially if this film wants to see itself as family entertainment.
Don’t be too concerned about how the story holds together – as with most sequels the story logic doesn’t hold together on close examination – but do sit down and enjoy the ride.
Inevitably, the door is left open for a sequel and you won’t have to wait very long into the credits for a teaser scene which appears to set this up.
Jumanji: The Next Level (12A; moderate violence; 123 minutes)
Director(s): Jake Kasdan
Cast Includes: Dwayne Johnson, Karen Gillan, Madison Iseman, Awkwafina, Jack Black, Nick Jonas
Summary: JUMANJI: THE NEXT LEVEL is a fantasy adventure in which a mismatched group of people enter a video game world in search of their missing friend.
Rating: *** (Divertingly good sequel to an entertaining film)