The gang is back together again, but the game has slightly shifted! When Jumanji hit theatres in 2017 opposite Star Wars: The Last Jedi, it surprised everyone grossing more than 400 million domestically and nearly a billion dollars overall. There’s no doubt that all that cash flow was a solid reminder of star power led by Dwayne ‘TheRock’ Johnson and Kevin Hart, supported by Karen Gillian, Jack Black, Awkwafina and the double D’s – Danny De Vito and Danny Glover. Hart was recently honored with a hand and footprint ceremony to commemorate the sequel dropping this week.
So, when we revisit these teens, back in their normal forms and having been separated for their first semester at college, they are eager to reunite for the holidays. Spencer (Alex Wolff), feeling nostalgic, breaks out the broken video game console and gets sucked back into the world of Jumanji. Once his friends realize what’s happened, they set out to rescue him. Complete with crazy, wild looking CG ostrich’s and ridiculous superhero strength for some characters, Jumanji surprisingly has heart. I actually got a lump in my throat a few times.
The chemistry between the leads is what makes this film work. Not to mention, the writing and direction of Jake Kasdan body swapping characters make for some gut bucket comedic moments all around. Martha (Morgan Turner) once again takes the form of Karen Gillan’s Lara Croft-ish badass, but Fridge (Ser’Darius Blain) is now Jack Black’s nerdy map-reader, while Johnson and Hart are “played” by Spencer’s Grandpa Eddie (Danny DeVito) and his former best friend Milo (Danny Glover), who have also been sucked into the game. Johnson does a spot-on imitation of DeVito’s unmistakable rasp, while Hart’s Danny Glover imitations gently hilarious to boot. That’s just for starters!!! The movie goes even further introducing Awkwafina as another gaming avatar, among other shenanigans.
Is there a post credit scene? Yup, of course there is, so stay squatted in that seat just a little while longer. Jumanji: The Next Level is a lot of fun and at the end of the day proves that sometimes the past just needs to stay in the past.
Produced by Sony Pictures, Jumanji: The Next Level hits theatres today, December 13th.