Before I get into my Next Level review, I feel as if I have to touch upon my history with its predecessor Welcome To The Jungle. When I saw the trailers for Welcome To The Jungle, I wrote the movie off as a cash grab and did not bother to try and schedule it into my list of movies. I’m also not a fan of Jack Black or Kevin Hart. Thankfully the movie did incredibly well in theaters, falling just short of hitting the billion dollar mark. I say thankfully because I’ve never been so wrong about a movie in my entire life.
Except for the trailers. They are still trash.
But the movie itself, was exactly what it needed to be. It paid respect to the source material, while expanding on and exploring the world of Jumanji in an entirely new and creative way. Yes, the basic premise of kids entering a video game has been done, but not this well, or as creatively.
The movie also had a tremendous amount of heart, charm, and whimsy. The characters and the plot were super relatable, and watching The Rock, Karen Gillan, and Jack Black play roles that were so against type, seeing them have as much fun as they did doing so, was so incredibly endearing. Who knew that Jack Black’s best performance ever was a teenage cheerleader stuck in a fluffy man’s body? Kevin Hart plays Kevin Hart, but for the first time, at least in my opinion, it truly worked.
Jumanji Welcome To The Jungle has morals, lessons that it wants to genuinely convey to the viewer. Things like, “don’t judge a book by its cover”, “don’t under estimate what you or other people are capable of”, and “don’t take your friends and loved ones for granted”.
It does this without taking its self too seriously, and letting its self be one of the funniest movies I have ever seen. It’s also one of the most tonally consistent movies I have seen. The characters have an actual arc, to the point where you can see them help each other grow and become better people. The movie is also beautiful. From the absolutely gorgeous settings to the relationships between the characters. It’s beautiful.
Sidebar: I’m going to side step for a moment and give you my theory as to why The Rock and Vin Diesel don’t get along so well. It’s because they are both giant fucking nerds who are constantly trying to out-nerd one another. Don’t believe me? Here, watch The D & Diesel Extended Cut. Have fun.
The reason I bring up Vin Diesel is, if there’s going to be another installment in this franchise, I want him to play the villain.
Now It’s Time For A Level Up.
After making the mistake I did with the first one, there was no way in hell that I would make the same mistake with Next Level, and I’m so glad I saw it in theaters, with a bunch of my close friends. Jumanji The Next Level is the perfect title for this movie as it really kicks everything up a few notches, and I do mean everything. The action sequences are funnier when they needed to be, more intense in the right moments, to the point where one of the scenes actually set off my fucking Vertigo and I got a little dizzy. That’s only happened once before during a movie, and it was Lord of The Rings The Two Towers.
I love all of the new characters. I’m so glad that Danny Glover and Danny DeVito are not too old for this shit as they were phenomenal, and The Rock and Kevin Hart were brilliant as them. For those who wanted to hear Danny DeVito voice Detective Pikachu, this movie is for you because he’s adorable and actually reminded me of my own father, a bit too much. I didn’t know who Nora Lum was before I saw this movie, but something about her was really familiar. When I looked her up on IMDB I saw she’s done a lot of voice over work. She was fantastic and is another great new addition to the franchise.
Watching Jack Black play a High School Cheerleader was a real treat, but watching him act like a big buff black dude, is just comedy gold. I felt so bad for the guy who was sitting to the right of me and his wife, because I was laughing so hard, so loud, with my entire body, to the point of giving myself stomach cramps and a headache, nearly falling out of seat, and into the row of seats in front of me, which was full of people. There was also a little boy sitting just behind me, laughing just as hard as I was. It was adorable. It really was.
Jumanji The Next Level is a roller coaster ride and makes me wish we had 4D Seats in my area. This movie also cranks up the feels to the max. It’s incredibly sentimental. I think by the end everyone in the theater was misty eyed. My biggest take away from it is, treasure the people around you because you don’t know how long you will have them in your life, or how big of an impact you can have on each other’s lives. Also, don’t let petty shit get in the way of a friendship. Everyone feels like they are just not enough at one or multiple points in their lives, but it’s no reason to isolate yourself from those around you, because it’s just as likely that they are going through the same thing as you are, and it’s more of a reason to reach out.
Jumanji The Next Level is everything Welcome To The Jungle was, and much, much more. Honestly, I don’t mind if they did a third one. Which is very likely as I predict this movie is going to hit and possibly surpass the billion dollar mark. I have no doubts about that. I closing I just want to say, it’s never too late to say you’re sorry, and never too late to learn to fly.
Till my next time dear friends and readers, I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and in case we don’t visit with each other again may you all have a wonderful and prosperous new year. Thank you for being the part of the year.