Jumanji The Next Level: Movie Review

Jumanji The Next Level: Movie Review
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Dylan J. Mayberry

Dylan J. Mayberry

Dylan J. Mayberry is an aspiring actor and has a strong passion for film. He was born in Brampton Ontario and has recently moved to Oakville. He is a graduate of Acting for Film & Television from Niagara college.

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2017’s Jumanji soft reboot managed to surprise everyone with it’s likeable characters, original, modern take on it’s source material, and it’s well delivered comedy. So a sequel sounds like a promising idea. Sadly, it seems Jumanji: The Next Level doesn’t understand that originality is what made its predecessor so great.

With a property like this. Where a game takes you to a world filled with energy and wonders to discover, you’d think there would be many different stories to tell. But this sequel follows the exact formula of the previous almost down to the exact run time. While the characters are still wonderful and very funny, the adventure they go on isn’t quite as enjoyable.

A year after our heroes fell into and subsequently escaped from the dangerous world of Jumanji. Spencer isn’t enjoying his new life after high school. So when he returns home for the holidays he endeavors to return to the game, thinking that is what made him a better person. Now it’s up to his friends, Fridge, Martha, and Bethany, as well as reluctant newcomers, Grandpa Eddie and his friend Milo Walker, to find him, and escape Jumanji again, hopefully this time never to return.

Welcome Back to the Jungle


Photo: Sony Pictures

Starting things off, the characters are simply delightful. The main four avatars played by Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, and Jack Black are fantastic as they channel the personalities of those playing them. Some of them even swap players multiple times in the film which is hilarious to watch these avatars change their personas on the fly.

For what brief screen time they have. All of the real-world characters are good as well, they are the heart of the film. And the emotional journeys they all take feels good to watch. It’s a shame we don’t get to see more of them before we jump straight back in to the game.

The plot is virtually identical to the previous film. Down to the plot point, with some variations but nothing that changes the direction much. You could line both of these movies up side by side and probably see that they introduce the same elements at the same times.

It’s disappointing that this sequel plays it safe because it does introduce some new elements that could be really interesting to follow. We don’t get to see enough of how everyone has moved on outside the game. We just get rushed right back to the adventure.

Though that adventure is fun. Entertaining set pieces like driving dune buggies away from a herd of violent, rampaging Ostriches. Jumping from bridge to bridge while fending off Enraged Mandrill’s. All of these moments are exciting. They just feel too familiar.

The Verdict

This film is for fans who loved the first film and just want more of it. Some children may be put off by some of its more tense actions scenes. But for the most part it is watchable. Don’t expect to feel the same welcome surprise that the previous film delivers.

Jumanji: The Next Level takes us to the same jungle. While the journey’s stale, we at least have some good friends and even very likeable new ones.


Jumanji: The Next Level

6 out of 10.

Directed by Jake Kasdan

Starring Dwayne Johnson, Karen Gillan, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, Awkwafina, and Nick Jonas.

Now playing Film.ca Cinemas, Cineplex Winston Churchill, and Cineplex Oakville & VIP. Also in IMAX.



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