Before there was Jumanji: Welcome to The Jungle or Jumanji: The Next Level, there was Joe Johnston’s Jumanji that came out 25 years ago and featured the late Robin Williams in the lead. Jake Kasdan’s Jumanji: The Next Level is closer to that classic Jumanji than its predecessor, and if that’s not interesting enough to entice you, I don’t know what is. The currently-doing-well in-cinemas Jumanji: The Next Level is a hell of a ride for fans of both the classic flick and the reboot that featured Dwayne Johnson in the lead, but one thing is common in all three flicks, they are memorable enough to be watched again and again and again!
Jumanji: The Next Level revolves around four students – Spencer (Alex Wolff), Fridge (Ser’Darius Blain), Martha (Morgan Turner) and Bethany (Madison Iseman) – who became friends after their last adventure in Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle. That time, they were Dr. Bravestone (Dwayne Johnson), Franklin Finbar (Kevin Hart), Professor Oberon (Jack Black) and Ruby Roundhouse (Karen Gillan) respectively. However, after Spencer willingly goes back into the game to take a break from his sorry life, the rest spring into action to save him but swap bodies. Now, Spencer’s grandfather (Danny DeVito) and his friend (Danny Glover) end up as Bravestone and Finbar, with no sign of Spencer, or Bethany. Add a few unsolvable riddles here and there, some life-threatening animals and puzzles that lead to nowhere and you get Jumanji: The Next Level.
The film takes you on a roller coaster ride that has many moments; crazy moments, tense moments and moments where using your brain is the only solution. Unlike their last adventure, they have to brave multiple kinds of weather including extremely cold, extremely hot and the normal weather, which is a Jungle, their first destination. Dwayne Johnson impresses as he plays ‘Dr. Bravestone outside, Danny DeVito inside’ and same goes for Kevin Hart who changes his accent to match Danny Glover’s. Alex Wolff’s Spencer is out there in Awkwafina’s body while Bethany is left behind in the real world, to figure out a solution on her own. Apart from that, there is a villain who has big aims to achieve, and it’s up to these heroes to stop him from bringing down Jumanji, but before that, they have to find their own strengths and weaknesses and go along as a team. The dialogues and their delivery is so on-point that you forget that the bodies were swapped by mistake; with new strengths given to most of the characters, you get a next-level entertainer from director Jake Kasdan who grows stronger with every Jumanji.
Unlike modern-day sequels, Jumanji: The Next Level is a creative sequel that connects its predecessors, smartly. It fulfills the demands of its fans by providing them over the edge action sequences, brilliant performances and a chance to be part of the Jumanji world which is in danger. The different adventures they take the audience on might seem absurd at first but is nothing compared to the ingenious idea of body-swapping. That is hilariously done, considering every actor goes through it, a few have their bodies swapped more than once and one character ends up as a horse. The reason why I feel this film is close to the classic Jumanji is that near the end-credits, there comes a scene that makes you go wow. It is about animals from Jumanji entering our world, which was the plot of the Robin Williams starrer way back in 1995. How will the makers incorporate that stuff into the lives of the four friends who only transform into their super avatars when they are inside the game, remains to be seen!