2017’s Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, short of the inauguration of Donald Trump, was the biggest surprise of the year. No one could have predicted that the 20-year-old classic starring the late Robin Williams would have the legs to come back never mind spawn a sequel. And what’s more, one that was actually entertaining.
With that in mind, I went into the franchise’s latest instalment, Jumanji: The Next Level, with high hopes.
Before being swiftly let back down again.
The experience I had with this film was akin to one of those times you’re forced to watch a young relative perform their comedy routine in the front living room; it’s completely predictable and it’s just not funny. The bulk of The Next Level’s ‘gags’ once again rely heavily on the ‘real-life characters adapting to their in-game avatars’ trope. This would have been fine had we not already seen this mechanic in the first film. Additionally, a lot of the same jokes are recycled from the first outing such as having the weight of Jack Black’s Professor Sheldon Oberon constantly played for laughs.
The story this time round is also painfully dull and spares little time on what should have been poignant character moments. I understand that the film is trying to mimic what it’s like to be in a videogame but the speed in which they drop the characters into their ‘adventure’ is jarring and is in no way suited to cinematic storytelling.
The one new thing the ironically titled Next Level has to offer is that, along with the usual suspects ranging from Dwayne Johnson to Madison Iseman, we have industry veterans Danny DeVito and Danny Glover along for the ride too. Their appearances are a breath of fresh air and whilst only brief, make you wish you were watching some Lethal Weapon/Sunny in Philadelphia mashup instead.
For more Jumanji news, check out this link to discover what scene had been in the works since the first movie.