It’s been a year since Spencer (Alex Wolf), Fridge (Ser’ Darius Blain), Martha (Morgan Turner), Bethany (Madison Iseman), and Alex (Colin Hanks) were trapped in Jumanji and not everyone has moved on. Jumanji: The Next Level has new faces along with a whole new game which is a lot more challenging. This sequel offers the same magic (plus some) as the first one and manages to be a completely new film!
We’re gonna break things down but, beware this is not a spoiler-free zone…
Getting Back in the Game
We really like the way Jumanji was re-introduced because they made it relatable. Spencer is off at college and he’s having a hard time adjusting. He thinks going back in and being Smolder Bravestone (Dwayne Johnson) again will fix everything. Too bad he gets put in the body of Ming. Life changes are hard, though, so we understand Spencer’s choice to go back in and we really love the way the movie handled this. Also, major bonus points for making Spencer play as Ming when he’s too nervous to steal anything.
Spencer’s friends realize something’s going on with him while they’re out to brunch, which he was supposed to join. They head to his house where Grandpa Eddie and Milo are “trying” to reconnect and discover the game. The problem is that Jumanji is pretty broken still so Fridge goes in along with Martha, Eddie, and Milo but Bethany gets left behind.
We absolutely loved the new character assignments for the sequel (Martha gets to be Ruby Roundhouse “Karen Gillan” again)! Fridge as Sheldon Oberon (Jack Black) was priceless. Oberon is one of our favorites but he gets hated on a lot for being overweight and generally not having many video game skills. Bethany as Oberon in the last movie was soooo great but Fridge is a very, close second.
Grandpa Eddie gets assigned to Bravestone since Spencer is already in the game as Ming yielding hilarious moments. Dwayne Johnson deserves an award for the accent and mannerisms he utilizes in these scenes. Since Fridge is Oberon that leaves Mouse (Kevin Hart) for Milo and, honestly, we would watch an entire movie of just Grandpa Eddie and Milo as Bravestone and Mouse. Mouse is a zoologist and he shared pertinent information but he shares it so slowly that lives are literally lost.
What Did We Love?
We mentioned some of our favorites above but there are so many others. The Next Level had great recalls to the jokes in Welcome to the Jungle but also kept things fresh. Each and every time Martha and Fridge try to explain what’s going on to Eddie and Milo will have you in stitches. Eddie blatantly shows his confusion by repeating questions and stating facts as a question while Milo pretends to know what’s going on.
We weren’t sure how they would bring Nick Jonas back in since that character was stuck in the game for twenty years but they did it. Bethany had to go to Alex for help when she didn’t get in (which was kind of an awkward scene since he’s an adult-like married with children). For movie purposes, he helps and enters the game as Seaplane while Bethany becomes a horse. The horse can fly, y’all (pretty much the coolest character). We would watch Nick Jonas be in any movie as anything, though, so bring him back under whatever crazy circumstances you choose, movie makers.
The humor is great when the characters are all mixed up but, luckily, there is some weird green water that lets players swap. We actually loved this scene, as cheesy as it was because it kind of captured the essence of Jumanji. With the stakes at an all-time high, our beloved heroes needed to play to their strengths so they went in and became who they’d been on the previous adventure.
Was it all believable? Was every aspect of this movie perfect? No, but for a universe like Jumanji, we don’t need that. We got a little bit of everything creating an entirely new experience which we enjoyed just as much as the first one. The thing that makes these characters special is that they’re going through things all of us are. It’s not just a video game movie or an action movie but a story filled with heart that we can all relate to.
There’s a high probability for a third since they teased us with a mid-credit scene. Lamorne Morris (Winston, New Girl) arrives at Spencer’s house to repair something and messes with the game. The next thing we see is animals running through the streets!
Have you seen Jumanji: The Next Level? We LOVED it and we hope a follow-up will continue the series’ upward growth. What were your favorite parts? Did you love it? Did you hate it?
Jumanji: The Next Level is in theaters now.