Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle took everybody by surprise by both it’s quality and box office prowess when it came out in 2017. A lot of it had to do with its creative approach towards the actors’ performances in portraying completely different people. Its sequel, The Next Level, looks to raise the bar even further, with each actor having to completely switch up their performance from the previous movie.
This movie sees Dwayne Johnson take on the nearly impossible task of imitating Danny DeVito while Kevin Hart must channel his inner Danny Glover. Karen Gillan is the only one in the same role, as Jack Black plays the avatar for Fridge. Everyone does a fantastic job in their new roles, but Kevin Hart stands out here. His line delivery is perfect and it leads to some really funny moments. Not only is he the best one in the movie, but this might be the best performance of his career. Jonhson is also good but the DeVito schtick does get tiresome.
As good as the performances were, this, unfortunately, suffers from some of the same issues its predecessor did- unimpressive action scenes and an even more unimpressive villain. The action scenes feel really generic and are filled with average looking CGI. The villain, played by Game of Thrones alum Rory McCann, is hardly in the movie and forgettable when he is.
The best part of these Jumanji movies is the character swapping and that’s especially true in The Next Level. It’s a fun movie, just like the first one was, but I can’t help that it will follow the first’s path of being mostly forgettable. I’ve never gone back to watch the first again and I don’t anticipate watching this again either. The movies are enjoyable, I just don’t know how much longer the character swapping can sustain the franchise before it needs new life.
Jumanji: The Next Level barely ears a Positive ROP, mostly for the laughs.
Ratings from low to high: Felony, Misdemeanor, 10-4, Positive ROP, Golden Donut