Dwayne Johnson as Eddie
Kevin Hart as Mouse Finbar / Fridge
Karen Gillan as Martha
Jack Black as Bethany / Fridge
Awkwafina as Ming
Danny DeVito as Eddie
Danny Glover as Milo
Marin Hinkle as Spencer's mother
Madison Iseman as Young Bethany
Ashley Scott as Ashley
Nick Jonas as Alex
Colin Hanks as Alex Young
Alex Wolff as Young Spencer
Morgan Turner as Young Martha
Rory McCann as Jurgen the Brutal
Rhys Darby as Nigel
Will Be Darius Blain as Young Refrigerator
Directed by Jake Kasdan
After the Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle events, the four teenagers went to college separately but remained in contact. Although Fridge, Bethany, and Martha successfully transitioned to college life, things were not so good for Spencer. He finds himself struggling at school, unhappy at work and getting lost in the big city.
When Spencer comes home for Christmas, things don't get much better. He finds himself sharing his room with his grumpy old grandfather Eddie. Soon, Spencer begins to yearn for his adventurous life in the game Jumanji. And in a surprise move, Spencer kept the parts of the Jumanji console smashed. Looking for a piece of his former glory, he reassembles it and gets sucked back into the game.
Looking for their missing friend, Martha, Fridge and Bethany find out what Spencer did. They decide to enter the game themselves to rescue it. But the game doesn't work and pulls Spencer's grandfather, Eddie and his old friend Milo into the game as well. But things are not exactly what they remember in Jumanji and must face new threats as they search for their lost friend.
If you liked Jumanji's previous movie, you probably will like Jumanji: The Next Level. It's more of the same, but with some new twists. There are new villains, new challenges and new animals. But the big news is that characters find ways to switch avatars mid-game. This allows for fun mixes of characters and allows actors to play new roles you wouldn't normally expect from them.
As before, the cast is excellent. Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart remain a powerful comic duo. But there is a twist to their routine when they play geriatric men completely out of their element. It's fun to see Johnson playing Danny DeVito and Hart playing Danny Glover. You get all the expected jokes of “old in a young body,” but as soon as they start to lose strength, they are able to change characters again and the story comes to life.
Hart and Johnson again join Karen Gillan as Martha and Jack Black, this time as Fridge. Gillian plays the same character as before, but she can also change characters and the results are fun. Their performance reinforces their comic skills. Then Jack Black gets a new twist on his performance by playing young African American Fridge. He makes a lot of laughs when the athletic Fridge has trouble adjusting to his new chubby incarnation.
The previous cast is joined by several new members. Awkwafina plays the new avatar Ming. She also plays various characters and this really begins to show her reach as an actress. Also new are Danny DeVito as Eddie and Danny Glover as Milo. Although they don't have much time to watch, both are there in spirit, as Hart and Johnson channel them. But DeVito really shines as it touches its elderly complaints. He really likes things a lot for Dwayne Johnson.
There are some other surprises here. A character from Jumanji's first movie appears. A final credit scene also suggests where a fourth movie might go.
What didn't work out:
While Jumanji: The Next Level was supposed to be a family movie, I found the amount of profanity a bit surprising. Then again, it is rated PG-13, so this is a case where you must meet the rating.
This movie also does its best to add a little cheer to the story. This is especially the case with the characters of DeVito and Glover. But they end up doing something really weird with this duo in the end, which seemed a bit out of place for this movie. I can't get involved anymore without getting into spoilers, but suffice it to say that some weird choices were made with Glover's character.
Finally, Jumanji: The Next Level reproduces almost every joke to the point of becoming monotonous. This is the case of old man jokes, video game jokes etc. Fortunately, they can shift gears just in time and that keeps things interesting. I believe the Jumanji video game concept is almost exhausted after this movie, but the final credit promises something to shake things up again, which is promising.
The bottom line:
If you liked Jumanji's previous movie, I think there's a good chance you might like Jumanji: The Next Level. It is a good option for the family during the holiday if Star Wars is sold out.
Jumanji: The next level opens Friday, December 13th!