Another Jumanji film following on from ‘Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle’. The avatars of Dr Bravestone (Dwayne Johnson), Ruby Roundhouse (Karen Gillan), Mouse Finbar (Kevin Hart) and Professor Shelly Oberson (Jack Black) have returned.
You would think that a sequel of students going into a video game would feel repetitive and overdone. However, ‘Jumanji: The Next Level’ is extremely clever in changing enough efficient things for this film to feel separate from its prequel. Instead of the original four, Spencer, Fridge, Martha and Bethany becoming the main four avatars in the game; Dr Bravestone is taken by Spencer’s Grandpa Eddie (Danny DeVito) and Mouse Finbar the zoologist is now embodying Eddie’s old friend Milo Walker (Danny Glover). Martha remains with Ruby Roundhouse, although Fridge ends up with Professor Shelly Oberon. Additionally, the map is completely different. The avatars find themselves once again in the forest to be then flown into a desert. This is further differed by a different map, a different villain and jewel, and different levels to be completed with even worse animals than before. The film does feel refreshingly original from the first, but still with some comic elements reflecting from ‘Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle’.
One of the perfect things of this film has to be the actors. We are graced with some phenomenal stars on screen, the best are the ones would embody the characters we have begun to know so well. Dr Bravestone is not the same Dr Bravestone from the original film, instead he is a grumpy old man whose saying is “getting old sucks”. Mouse Finbar isn’t Fridge anymore, but now engulfed by a man who takes forever to get to his point, talking slowly and adding way too much information so the avatars die before they know what they need to about the crazed animal in front of them. Kevin Hart and Dwayne Johnson’s chemistry is always great on screen; this film wasn’t any different. Although, I liked that they weren’t the centre of the film as much, because the time they were on screen was comical however Karen Gillan and Jack Black were perfect at centre screen. Jack Black is brilliant as always by becoming different characters and again holds a lot of the comedic elements, but also is excellent as he sulks about the character he has become. Awkwafina also makes an appearance and her characters are magnificent. Furthermore, I do love the avatars character descriptions of strengths and weaknesses as new ones are added from the film before.
‘Jumanji: The Next Level’ is a super sequel. It does help to the watch ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ first as some comedy values may be lost and the understanding of the changed map would definitely be misunderstood by the audience. Nevertheless, the mass of differences makes the film very enjoyable, full of comedy, action and adventure. The different levels are fun and new, the characters should be enjoyed by the audience and the steps to completing the game is only harder than before but more exciting with more action-packed plots. This film does feel a lot darker and menacing than the original, but it only adds to the idea of the game being broken and harder to complete. I would definitely recommend ‘The Next Level’ as it isn’t a let down in the slightest!