Jumanji: The Next Level – Was This a Different Movie?

Rating (3 out of 5)

Summary: “Jumanji: The Next Level” replicates much of the humor from its predecessor “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle”. However, the introduction is elongated, which makes the movie seem slow. The addition of new characters adds new flavors but also slows the film a bit. Some of the twists were a bit convenient so the story is a bit basic. Overall, “The Next Level” is a good night out with the family and laughs are still to be found. A decent follow-up.

Plot: Spencer (Alex Wolff) returns from college insecure in his relationship and life. Upon returning home, he returns to Jumanji, forcing his friends and his grandfather to rescue him.

Detail: They leverage much of the same material, which is good and bad. The good is the jokes are solid and you assured a chuckle. The bad is I heard the jokes before, and I could simply watch “Welcome to the Jungle”.

The addition of the Grandpa Ed (Danny DeVito) and his friend Milo (Danny Glover) was a nice touch. I was initially irritated at Grandpa Ed constantly complaining about getting old, but they recovered at the end of the movie. I would have knocked off more from the score if they hadn’t recovered.

Kudos to all the actors for switching characters multiple times. The Rock had to act like Grandpa Ed (a pretty decent Danny Devito imitation) and then back to a teenager. Kevin Hart also pulled out a nice Danny Glover imitation. Nice to see them both stretch as actors.

I enjoyed the looping back to the original Jumanji with Nora (Bebe Neuwirth) at the end of the film. Nora is the Aunt from the original 1992 “Jumanji” It is a nice symmetry to the series which I liked.