After winning free tickets, I was one of the people lucky enough to see a special showing of Jumanji: The Next Level, the sequel to 2017’s Jumanji (1995) spinoff Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, prior to its worldwide release. Directed by Jake Kasdan, the fantasy adventure film sees Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, Jack Black and Nick Jonas reprising their roles, as well as new characters played by Danny DeVito, Danny Glover and Awkwafina, as they take on advanced challenges in the next level of the Jumanji videogame.
Picking up one year after the events of the previous film, we see how the game has impacted the lives of the eclectic group of teenagers after they were brought together through Jumanji. Spencer (Alex Wolff) is unhappy in New York; Bethany (Madison Iseman) is no longer self-absorbed as she travels the world; Martha (Morgan Turner) is thriving at university and Fridge (Ser’Darius Blain) spends most of his time doing weights at the gym. After feeling like he isn’t relevant anymore, Spencer returns to the world of Jumanji, forcing the rest of the gang to go after him. Expecting to return to their previous avatars, it is only Martha who takes control of hers in the form of Ruby “Killer of Men” Roundhouse (Karen Gillan) as Fridge ends up in Shelly Oberon’s avatar (Jack Black) and Bethany fails to get into the game initially. Unexpectedly, the game also takes control of Spencer’s grandfather Eddie (Danny DeVito), who ends up in Dr Smoulder Bravestone (Dwayne Johnson), and his former slow-talking business partner Milo (Danny Glover) in zoologist Mouse Finbar (Kevin Hart). On an adventure to find Spencer whilst dealing with new features within the game, including a deadly flock of ostriches and new climates, the returning gamers must learn patience as they deal with the old men’s antics and confusion over being inside a videogame.
Although similar to the previous film, the sequel offers new laughs for a light-hearted audience as we see the actors pursue several personas, most notably Jack Black’s hilarious return to being a teenage girl and Dwayne Johnson’s impersonation of Danny DeVito’s unmistakable accent. With an increase in adventures and new challenges, Jumanji: The Next Level is a worthy addition to the beloved Jumanji franchise.
Last modified: 12th January 2020