Jumanji: The Next Level

Jumanji: The Next Level

This is a poster for Jumanji: The Next Level, Sony Pictures

On December 20, 2019, Jumanji: The Next Level was released in theaters across the nation. Over its opening weekend, it earned around $60 million blowing all projections out of the water and establishing Jumanji as a possible franchise.

Like its predecessor (Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle), this movie is a compelling combination of action, comedy, and romance. The chemistry between cast members is clear to see and keeps the movie interesting. Although the movie is in some ways similar to the first, it manages to stand out as a great movie with its own story.

This movie starts with the same characters that audiences saw in the first Jumanji movie. Spencer (Alex Wolff) is now a freshman at New York University. Spencer has been trying to maintain a long-distance relationship with his girlfriend Martha (Morgan Turner), but it has not been going well. Fridge (Ser’Darius Blain) is still playing football while Bethany (Madison Iseman) is globetrotting. The movie also introduces some new characters, like, Eddie (Danny DeVito) as Spencer’s grandpa and Milo (Danny Glover) as Eddie’s ex-business partner who is trying to fix their relationship.

Once again, all the characters are sucked into the Jumanji game. This time, they are trying to rescue Spencer who went into the game voluntarily. Martha is once again a dance-fighting expert named Ruby Roundhouse (Karen Gillan). Eddie is Dr. Smolder Bravestone (Dwayne Johnson) and Milo is backpack-carrying Franklin Finbar (Kevin Hart). Fridge becomes map expert Dr. Shelly Oberon (Jack Black).

Similarly to the first movie, each of the characters has three life bars on their wrist. The characters waste several lives right away while trying to explain what is going on to Eddie and Milo. Once all the characters are somewhat on the same page, they begin to try to work through the levels of Jumanji. Like any good video game, the levels get steadily harder. The master villain of this movie is Jurgan the Brutal (Rory McCann) and the group struggles throughout the film to take a jewel from him.

The production design in this movie by Bill Brzeski is stunning and creative. Henry Jackman’s music is great and helps the movie to flow from scene to scene. However, much of this movie’s success can be attributed to director Jake Kasdan spinning this movie’s storyline in a fresh, new way.

The second Jumanji did not disappoint and is on the same level as the first one. The movie balances humor and excitement perfectly so it never gets too dark or light at any given time. The messages of friendship are strong and emphasized from beginning to end. However, like any good video game, there are clues of another level at the end for anyone not ready to say game over.