Spencer (Alex Wolff) is feeling insecure about his long distance relationship and decides to enter the world of Jumanji in the hope of feeling powerful again as Smolder Bravestone (Dwayne Johnson). When his friends go in search of him Spencer’s grandpa Eddie (Danny DeVito) and friend Milo (Danny Glover) also get sucked into the game with all of their avatars getting mixed up.
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle was a really fun and breezy action romp that had a quick set up, lots of funny moments and solid action. The Next Level seems to fumble all of those positive attributes. Taking the old sequel adage of adding more stars to the cast list it has to introduce us to Eddie and Milo as well as set up Spencer’s insecurities and the rest of the groups fast friendship. Then when we actually get to Jumanji it completely hamstrings two of its cast with a one note joke it repeats ad infinitum. Instead of Dwayne Johnson being a charisma beacon he is now a grumpy old man and instead of Kevin Hart being fast talking he takes on the slow pace of an old man trying to process what is going on. Oh and of course neither understand what a video game is. The joke gets old fast and the film even seems to think so when near the end it finds a way to switch everything up again.
The ace card this time around though is Karen Gillan who takes the full weight of exposition whilst still injecting comedy and action.
Overall it’s fine, but not a patch on the last movie.