Jumanji: The Next Level’s desire to go beyond being a fun action-adventure, and have some form of emotional depth, makes its 2-hour run-length a drag.
|Directed By||Jake Kasdan|
|Written By||Jake Kasdan, Jeff Pinkner, Scott Rosenberg|
|Date Released (Theatrical)||12/12/2019|
|Genre(s)||Adventure, Action, Comedy|
|Made For Those Who Like||
|Dr. Bravestone||Dwayne Johnson|
|Alex (In Jumanji)||Nick Jonas|
|Franklin “Mouse” Finbar||Kevin Hart|
|Professor Shelly Oberon||Jack Black|
Plot Summary/ Review
With everyone splitting up after high school, it has made some, like Spencer, lose his sense of cool and validation, leading to him wanting to return to Jumanji. However, with him not becoming Dr. Bravestone but a whole new character, Ming, he is in deep trouble. So, luckily for him, his friends, Fridge, Martha, and Bethany, head back into the game, as well as Alex, to save him.
However, what he wasn’t expecting was his grandpa Eddie and his estranged friend Milo to join them too. Alongside their bickering after a 15-year gap caused by Milo forcing Eddie into retirement.
It Goes Big
Like your traditional, if not generic, sequel, Jumanji: The Next Level is bigger in terms of cast, the adventure, and threats to everyone’s life. Thus leading to grand visuals that do sometimes make you question what is real and what is special effects. Not always, but sometimes it really does leave you in awe.
On The Fence
It Overstays It’s Welcome
This is just a bloated film. Between the introduction of Milo and Eddie, and their drama, to Martha and Spencer’s issues, there is an attempt to make this film into something the actors can’t bolster. Making it so you increasingly feel annoyed as there is some attempt to make you care about these people who have no means to garner interest. And as much as the comical nature of Hart and Johnson try to drive you to be interested in the interpersonal drama, it doesn’t. You focus on their antics because they are funny, and it adds nothing to the attempt to develop Milo and Eddie, or remind you Martha and Spencer had a relationship.
One that, since we rarely seem them in the flesh, doesn’t give you any real chance to gauge their chemistry, maybe fall for them as a couple or any of that. We just watch them as Ruby and whoever Spencer is at the time, avoid each other, or have lukewarm conversations about their relationship. The kind that pushes this idea that because Spencer is, technically, the male lead, he has to have a girlfriend, so by obligation, they have given him one without any enthusiasm behind it.
Then when you speak of Eddie and Milo, honestly, their storyline could have worked in its own separate film. However, it feels far too simplified in this movie to have any real emotional impact. And that is whether you are speaking to DeVito and Glover playing off one another, Hart and Johnson, or the other mixes that come about.
Making it so, ultimately, you have this grand adventure bogged down by the most boring people whose issues with one another suck the thrill out of the journey. I’d even submit they make Hart and Johnson work overtime to compensate. Which, even with their individual charisma, and chemistry as a duo, sometimes it doesn’t feel like enough.
To be honest, this was a bit disappointing. Mind you, it isn’t like we were over the moon about the first entry of the reboot. But I think they really drained the tank to its last bit of fumes and the new characters don’t bring anything major to justify this new entry.
Would Watch Again?
No, but I would watch the sequel this film sets up. Mostly due to wanting to finish what I started more than finding this to really be a franchise that should continue.
Rating: Mixed (Divisive)
If Jumanji aimed to be a mindless and fun action/adventure, I think it would be more enjoyable. However, with some desire to be deeper by giving us some teen drama, and that of two characters who are terribly introduced, Jumanji: The Next Level seems terribly confused. For one, all of the teens whose lives we’re supposed to care about, they are easily eclipsed by some of the biggest action and comedy stars of this generation.
Then, when it comes to DeVito and Glover, their storyline feels wasted, watered down, and thin. Making it so their introduction adds onto the issues of the franchise than becomes an additional asset, alongside the chemistry of Johnson and Hart.
Hence the mixed label. Personally, as much as we recognize character development is essential, this film makes it feel like an obligation more than an investment. And while that could be something you just roll your eyes about if the action was good, there aren’t much in the way of thrills here. For between a lack of feeling emotionally connected to no real belief someone will die permanently, there isn’t anything to gasp or fear about.
So as much as there is a desire to appreciate an attempt at not allowing Johnson and Hart to eclipse everyone, the execution is weak. Leaving Jumanji: The Next Level just barely entertaining action-wise, but most certainly, another example of why most films have no means to justify being 2 hours.
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