‘Jumanji: The Next Level’ is a fantasy adventure comedy film and, sequel to the 2017 film ‘Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle; also serving as the fourth film in the franchise. The plot follows on from the last entry, the core group have drifted apart and, Spencer, (Alex Wolff), decides to go back into Jumanji once again, to try and recapture the Bravestone feeling; the others discover this and, then go into to rescue him. The twist this time around is that Spencer’s uncle Eddie, (Danny Devito), and his former business partner Milo, (Danny Glover), get sucked into the game too.
Director Jake Kasdan achieves something very special with ‘The Next Level’ a sequel that is far better than the films in the series before it. In almost every aspect this film succeeds the previous film, in terms of comedy, in terms of character development, in terms of world-building; all-round ‘The Next Level’ is a treat.
This time around Bravestone, (Dwayne Johnson), is the in-game avatar of Danny Devito’s Eddie, and Moose Finbar, (Kevin Hart), is the avatar of Danny Glover’s Milo. Both actors do a great impression of their older counterparts: but it is Kevin Hart that really shines in this style of comedy, his impression of Danny Glover is hilarious and he easily has the best jokes of the film.
The rest of the in-game avatars are also a welcome return, Professor Oberon, (Jack Black), played by Ser’ Darius Blain’s Fridge this time around is equally as hilarious as he was in the first film; it is nice to see Jack Black back in a big-budget film. Ruby Roundhouse, (Karen Gillian), and Seaplane, (Joe Jonas), are featured and, they do have some great moments but, they are very much pushed to the sidelines and, underused. Awkwafina is also in this film for all of 15 minutes, so she is not really given any time to shine.
The world of Jumanji is nicely explored this time around, we get to see some new locations that helped to set this film apart from the previous entry this is also done by their being new rules brought in which allow characters to do a variety of different things, including switching bodies. The one issue with all of this is that ‘The Next Level’ feels less like a videogame adaption/homage, which is one of the things that makes the first film so good.
Overall ‘The Next Level’ is a step up from ‘Welcome To The Jungle’ which was already a great film. Devito, Black, Hart and Johnson are all on terrific form here and, make this one of the best films of the year. The romantic development between Spencer and, Martha, (Morgan Turner) is also incredibly endearing and, the end stinger is definitely one to stick around for. I can’t wait for the next film in this fantastic franchise.
Reviewed by Luke