Jumanji: The Next Level (MOVIE REVIEW) by Dylan L.

Jumanji’s Next Level Has More Laughs and More ActionScreen Shot 2020-08-04 at 5.11.27 PM

The teenage gang return to Jumanji to rescue one of their own; however, the Jumanji they once encountered has completely changed. The players will have to overcome new unexplored parts, such as dry deserts and a lost city, so they can escape from the dangerous game with everyone intact.

Three years after their adventures in Jumanji, the teenage gang of Spencer, Martha, Fridge, and Bethany now lead different lives, with different fortunes. When they plan a reunion back home, Spencer instead elects to return into the world of Jumanji. Knowing what they must do, the rest of the teenagers head into the game to bring him home; however, the Jumanji that the teenagers knew before is no longer the same. The game is busted, and the game world in turn is in serious trouble with a new villain attempting to take over. Along with new enemies and new levels, the gang is faced with dealing with unneeded, and elderly, baggage that joins the ride, along with personal problems of their own. The teenage gang must overcome all these new troubles to defeat this new villain, reach the objective, and return home with Spencer intact.

Welcome back to the jungle; welcome back to Jumanji. The next level of 2017’s Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle brings back the core cast, along with a new line of stars to create even more action and laughs. The teenagers from the first film, along with two unwilling additions, once again are trapped in Jumanji, which has new challenges, new avatars, and a new villain, all of which they must overcome in order to escape.

Three years after the events of the first film, Spencer Gilpin, Anthony “Fridge” Johnson, Martha Kaply, and Bethany Walker all are focused on their college careers. While Fridge, Martha, and Bethany are having personal success, Spencer struggles to fit in New York University. The four plan on having a reunion in their hometown of Brantford, New Hampshire; however, Spencer is against the idea of a reunion and ignores his friends’ texts on his return home for the holidays.

On his first night back home, he is met by his mother and grandfather Eddie (Danny DeVito), who is a retired diner co-owner. Unable to sleep, Spencer heads to the basement and finds the briefcase containing the broken video-game system that holds “Jumanji,” where he considers returning because he had a purpose as Doctor Bravestone (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson). However, he accidentally turns on the system, transporting him back to Jumanji, but with unintended effects.

The next day, Fridge, Matha, and Bethany meet at Nora’s Diner for their reunion. Although they catch up, they become concerned with Spencer, leading them to look for him at his home. As they search for him, Eddie’s former friend and co-owner of Nora’s Diner Milo Walker (Danny Glover) comes over. When the teenagers see the “Jumanji” game, now partially repaired, they come to the realization that Spencer returned to the game and must go in to bring him back. In its startup, however, the game malfunctions, luring everyone but Bethany in the Gilpin household into the game.

Inside, although Martha remains the same avatar Ruby Roundhouse (Karen Gillan), there are now more noticeable changes within both the team and the overall game. The avatar of Professor Sheldon Oberon (Jack Black) is now possessed by Fridge, while the avatars of Bravestone and Franklin “Mouse” Finbar (Kevin Hart) are respectively held by Eddie and Milo. Due to their age, the elders are unaware that they possess different bodies and are in a video game, which becomes a common theme and a source for laughs throughout the film. Non-playable character and guide Nigel Billingsley (Rhys Darby) informs the group that Jumanji is now under a significant drought at the hands of warlord Jurgen the Brutal (Rory McCann). In order to restore peace to Jumanji and leave the game, the group must recover a new item called the Falcon Jewel, a magical necklace in the possession of Jurgen, before sunlight. However, that is easier said than done.

Unlike their last adventure, Jumanji: The Next Level not only presents a new villain, but they are met with new levels, such as a desert and a small town. The group also is present with new in-game and personal problems, such as an avatar-switching pool of green water, new avatars, and relationship conflicts. If the group wants to return home, they will have to overcome these in-game and personal issues and retrieve the Falcon Jewel from Jurgen the Brutal in this epic new adventure.

The second installment of the revived Jumanji film series brings in not just more action, but new elements that make it a refreshing action and fantasy movie to watch. Along with the new levels and added enemies, the film brought in new weaknesses for each in-game character. For example, Doctor Bravestone initially had no weaknesses, but now fears and loses a life from an NPC called Switchblade (Massi Furlan). In contrast to the first film, the second film had more comedy to it than usual, and that was primarily due to the lack of awareness by the elder characters Eddie and Milo in their Jumaji avatars. While their jokes do get repetitive, it does give viewers a bit of reprieve from the film’s intended seriousness. Viewers will also be in for a surprise when they see Spencer’s new avatar, but they will have to watch the film to see it for themselves.

Karen Gillan once again does well as Ruby Roundhouse, which makes her the star of the film; however, where she excels is her leadership of the group. Despite dealing with Eddie and Milo in the Bravestone and Mouse avatars, she guides them into taking full advantage of their abilities and adjusting to a new environment. Props also go to Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart, who embodied an elder in their performances through the use of accents, poor memory, and slow talk.

Overall, Jumanji: The Next Level is a one-up from the first level, as it brings a lot of new and surprising challenges for both the cast and the viewers alike. This film also does a great job at expanding the relationship between Spencer and Martha, while adding a new side story between the elders Eddie and Milo. While the first film was filled with more action, the second film is perfectly balanced with action, drama, seriousness, and laughs, making it fun for families to enjoy. However, just be sure to stay until the end credits.

Release Date: December 13, 2019

Cast: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, Nick Jonas, Awkwafina, Rory McCann, Danny DeVito, Danny Glover, Alex Wolff, Morgan Turner, Ser’Darius Blain, Madison Iseman, Colin Hanks, Rhys Darby, and Bebe Neuwirth

Director: Jake Kasdan

Distributor: Sony Pictures Releasing

Genres: Action, fantasy, comedy

Rating: PG-13

Runtime: 2 hr 3min

Official Website: https://www.sonypictures.com/movies/jumanjithenextlevel

Official Social Media

IMDB page: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt7975244/

Wiki page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jumanji:_The_Next_Level

Dylan Lazaga_profile picDylan Lazaga | Writing Contributor
B.A | Comm & Journalism | Cal State Univ – East Bay
Although he loves lasagna, don’t get it confused with Dylan Lazaga. Dylan is a recent graduate from CSU – East Bay, with a Communication BA in Multimedia Journalism; having also earned an AA and ADT in Communication Studies at Ohlone College. Dylan is mainly passionate about professional wrestling and video games but is also interested in cartoons and sports. All of these interests led him to his current career path of a multimedia journalist. Prior to graduating, Dylan wrote numerous articles for his college newspaper as a Staff Writer. He also currently works for nonprofit organization, Project Censored, as a Creative Director for their podcast, “Along the Line.” When not writing on an article or searching for news, you can often catch Dylan watching YouTube videos, or even creating some himself. Being a recent communications and journalism graduate, he hopes to share his thoughts on the world of professional wrestling and gaming to the internet and the world. Instagram: @dylanlasagna || View My Articles

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