Movie Review: ‘Jumanji: The Next Level’ Is A Passable Time Waster

The first ‘Jumanji’ film was a surprise hit back when I was a kid, but it never seemed like it would lead to a sequel. Then, a few years back, it was decided that taking characters into the video game was an interesting way to continue the series. It was a massive hit and bound to lead to a sequel. Now that the sequel is here, what new twist does it have this time.

The answer is actually not all that much. The gimmick this time around is that the avatars of Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart are now being controlled by Danny Devito and Danny Glover. Which is admittedly funny. The joke where’s out it’s welcome, but not before a decent amount of laughs are had. There’s also some kind hearted history between the characters that’s well done by the duo.

Other than that, it’s pretty straightforward stuff. Karen Gillian is back as the scantly clad female bad ass. I guess she’s suppose to be like an homage to the 1990’s Lara Croft and I guess that’s fine. She’s also the most straight forward of the roles. Jack Black is also back, but his avatar is being embodies by the African American football player nicknamed Fridge. So, instead of playing the ditsy blonde, Black gets to play the black jock character. Which is also funny at times and I’m sure most will find it entertaining. However, there is no doubt some others will find it a bit patronizing.

Truthfully though, this is just an excuse to make some money off an idea that audiences seemed to latch on to, and that’s no big deal. The story is nothing memorable. The characters are still only okay. But the concept is fairly fun to sit through. There’s nothing particularly memorable about any of the jokes or action sequences, but they work well enough to not feel like you are wasting your time.

So, if you enjoyed the first film, and want to see this, then you will likely have some fun. If the first one was not your cup of tea, then this one won’t blow up your skirt either. Everyone else is better left enjoying the plethora of better films out there or waiting a week for ‘Star Wars’.

Nathan Ligon

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