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Jumanji: The Next Level A Perfectly Fine Enjoyable Adventure for the Holidays Grade: C+

Source: IMDB

Jumanji: The Next Level continues from the previous film from 2017, with the same teenage gang you all know and love... Well sort of. Spencer (Alex Wolff) has been going through a difficult time in his life. College isn't how he would imagine, he feels disconnected from his friends and girlfriend, as there is barely any sort of confidence level in his body. One night Spencer goes down to the basement, where somehow manages to find the Jumanji game the gang had recently destroyed in the past... But somehow has reappeared again. Spencer goes back to the land of Jumanji, hoping to have strength and confidence like he once had. Spencer's friends discovered his disappearance as they come back to game, only this time the game chooses their avatars and not everyone gets to play first time around, as new players take their turn on this epic quest. I'm honestly surprised I'm writing this review for this movie, I stayed far away from watching 2017's Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, thinking it would a waste of time. With the holiday season being here, I figured to be more generous and give the first film a shot. Surprisingly though: I honestly prefer Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle over the original, in fact I thought it was actually enjoyable... What a plot twist. The Cinematography was honestly fine, since this film is mostly taken place on a green screen, hard to judge the film making from the visual standpoint, but the camera work was just fine. The visual effects were pretty cool, was I ever wow'd by any of it?! No, but some levels of the game was honestly fun. The Score was honestly forgettable, I didn't like how they repeated the same song Bethany's avatar used to beat up a bunch of bad guys during the dance fighting scene in the end. The cast in this film all in all was solid and found it not only entertaining, but was impressed something new was offered on the table. Kevin Hart honestly impressed me this time around, not only was he funny in his performance, but he actually takes on a challenge in his acting ability, by trying to impersonate an old wise man whom is very slow in speaking. I enjoyed it quite a bit, I found it extremely hilarious at times and was bummed out when he had to stop acting like Milo (Danny Glover). You can say the same with Dwayne the Rock Johnson trying to impersonate Danny DeVito’s character Eddie, as I found his performance quite refreshing this time around, as he's not trying to play himself like every single movie he has done in his entire career. But in all seriousness this was probably one of the best performances the Rock has done in the past decade, he's putting in effort to become somebody else for a change, good job The Rock a gold star rewarded. Jack Black takes on a couple different characters, he was equally good as the previous film. Jack Black seems like he's having a ball playing two different personalities and genders in this film, making the audience have fun watching him on screen. Karen Gillian was cool, I didn't like when she takes on being Fridge, but other than that she was fun on screen. Awkwafina was ok in this film, her avatar was kind of neat but her performance just left me bored. Nick Jonas was a little bit better than the previous film, but honestly... Stick to music, no shade whatsoever but he's not that good as an actor. The teenage kids came and went, so nothing really to discuss with their performances. Couple flaws to mention. I found the villain of this film to be extremely dull this time around, in the last film the villain was developed and had character, this time around this new villain makes me want to take a nap. He just comes on screen to grunt, moan, and have a beard like a viking... Ok?! At least the villain was worth watching in the last film, this one clearly doesn't want to be here at all. I didn't like how two characters got an opportunity to delay their arrival to the game. I get that's how the script want it to be, in order for these characters to show up in Jumanji... But they could've done it in a much different, more understandable approach. I didn't like how one character ended up in the end, I get it but then again... That was kind of selfish. Oh I didn't like how these characters are so lackadaisical about their live count. Like God Forbid if u run out of lives... You're dead, so why not be more aware about it instead of waiting the last minute?! Jumanji: The Next Level may not be better than the previous film, but it's still enjoyably fine to watch. It was a nice adventure film once again, enjoyed some of the levels this game had to offer this time around, especially the Desert level... That was fun. I enjoyed the humor for the most part, I found it quite funny in numerous occasions. I also enjoyed the fact this film had a purpose to exist for a sequel. Like you can understand why Spencer wanted to go back to the game, he felt like a man, whom won the girls heart last time around, and felt cool and respected by his peers as the avatar he played in. College took a toll on him as he feels completely depressed, so you can understand why he would risk his life all over again, to have that power again. This film won't wow anyone, but it's certainly enjoyably fine for what it is. Overall, Jumanji: The Next Level is an enjoyably average film. If you got a family and nothing better to do during the holidays, this film could help. -Mitch Smietana

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