Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan and Jack Black are all back for this hilarious sequel to 2017’s Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. Jumanji: The Next Level is not, however, a simple rehashing of what made the first film work so well. It brings with it plenty of surprises, new faces and twists on what came before.
For one thing, though we’re back with the original quartet, they are not back playing the same characters – something that gives the cast, especially Johnson and Hart, so many opportunities to shine with performances that will have audiences in absolute fits of laughter.
Just like with the 2017 film, there is huge love and respect for the beloved Robin Williams version of the Jumanji story but it’s also an entirely different beast. A couple of loving nods are all we need and then it’s on to all the madcap challenges put before our team. And director Jake Kasdan has a masterful handling of exactly what is needed. His vision is clear and the adventure and comedy are woven together flawlessly.
The new additions to the cast fit in brilliantly. Bringing the likes of Danny Glover and Danny DeVito in for two important characters with not much screen time works superbly well. With their respective characters firmly established, we then get to sit back and delight in Hart’s pitch-perfect portrayal of Glover’s Milo and Johnson’s delicious take on the embittered Grandpa Eddie (DeVito). Awkwafina is a welcome treat, too, and brings both comedy and heart to a rather complex character. Gillan and Black don’t have quite as much to do as Johnson and Hart who take centre stage. That said, what they do is just as fun and entertaining and ties the whole thing together marvellously.
In a world of tiresome reboots and sequels, Jumanji: The Next Level is a masterclass in how to get it right. Packed with action, adventure and hilarity, this sequel is even funnier and more entertaining than its predecessor and absolutely achieves the next level in comedic brilliance.