Jumanji: The Next Level: Movie Review

If you loved the first film, "Jumanji" The Next Level" will hit the right notes for you. It has the same wit, charm, and fun that made the first foray a success. The film has innovative ideas that make the second film bigger and fresh but not necessarily better.

Years after their wild adventure in the video game Jumanji, Spencer (Alex Wolff), Martha (Morgan Turner), Fridge (Ser'Darius Blain), and Bethany (Madison Iseman) have moved on from High School. Most have thrived but Spencer has been struggling in New York. The gang agree to meet after being away for years but when Spencer doesn't show up, the others get worried. Soon they discover that Spencer has gone back to Jumanji and they need to return in order to save him.
We loved the first film and it doesn't really surprise that we also loved "Jumanji: The Next Level". The same core elements that made the first film a success are all here. The humor and chemistry are all intact with a surprising new element that kept things fresh. Of course, the crux of the film's success was its main cast particularly Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black and Karen Gillan. We felt that the cast delivered mostly with Dwayne Johnson struggling most as he had to diversify his performance as a particular character. Kevin Hart and Jack Black were marvelous as usual needing to change things up but doing it successfully. Where the film slightly falters is in its story and narrative development. In particular, we felt that the first act was a bit too slow and definitely overstayed its welcome. There were also elements that were never explained clearly like new avatars becoming available. Overall, this film was almost as good as the first one. Not that these films can be considered classics but as a very fun way to waste away a couple of hours.
Rating: 3 and a half reels

Why you should watch it:
- it's the same all-around great experience from the first film with fresh ideas to boot

Why you shouldn't watch it:
- the first act overstayed its welcome
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