Jumanji: The Next Level, a new level for the franchise?


2019 was a year of sequels, we saw the return of classics like Frozen and conclusive finales to cliffhanging movies such as Avengers: Infinity War, we saw the end of Thanos and the Rise of Skywalker, a Spiderman away from home and Marvel’s first female superhero finding her way back home. The Jumanji franchise offered its sequel to the first movie Welcome to the Jungle. The famed crew of The Rock, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, Karen Gillan returned to the scene to produce an eye-popping action movie with tonnes of rib-tickling comedy. A must watch family movie for anyone who wishes to escape reality into the refreshed world of Jumanji.


The story revolves around the same group of high school friends, but in an attempt to reunite they find themselves having to battle the threats of Jumanji again. As the title suggests, Jumanji is no longer the same, a new set of creatures, new challenges, and a brand-new villain. This movie also saw new additions to the avatars in Jumanji upheld by Awkwafina, who impressed alongside the rest of the crew. The director also sought an opportunity to appeal to all age groups by adding two characters representative of the elderly age group, making it a complete family movie. The comedy element of this movie has been the highlight for me. Almost every other scene included a dialogue or two that forced you into a good snort-laugh. However, the storyline is pretty bleak and almost entirely predictable, touching upon subjects like long-distance relationships, the generation gap, friendship and loyalty similar to the first one. perhaps the silly aspects of the movie were what entertained the audience the most. Technicalities in terms of plot holes and lack of cohesion amongst various scenes should be overseen in a movie like Jumanji, it is a movie made for pure enjoyment, not for those who seek to revitalize the grey cells in their heads. However, the most amazing part of this movie, in my opinion, is the visuals that add to the enjoyment and excitement of watching Jumanji.


Visuals, cinematography and aesthetics bring the worst stories to a better level, and this was the case with Jumanji: The Next Level. Like any other Dwayne Johnson production, the visuals are jaw-dropping and certain scenes make you want to jump out of your seat. The thrill of watching a movie like this is the unpredictable circumstance that the characters are in. The director, Jake Kasdan, uses this as an element of suspense and surprise: snakes, rhinos and ostriches suddenly attacking the avatars send a shiver down the spine. The credit should go to the visual effects crew as they have certainly exploited every technological tool available to make the creatures and settings as realistic as possible and the timings of these effects are also on point to create that sudden shock. This is what takes the sequel to a new level and an obvious difference to the first part. Another aspect of the movie that needs to be highlighted is the acting. The actors that play the avatars have a real challenge as they have to mirror the personalities of the original characters that they play, for example, Dwayne Johnson has to mirror the personality of his character Spencer. This was something all the actors did well, especially Jack Black who even in the first one did an amazing job playing Bethany. The story includes role reversals and a part of the film when the actors’ skill was really clear. This aspect is another I found was much better than the first one and needs applauding.


Overall, the movie is a fun, action-filled comedy movie that highlights the core idea of Jumanji well and is as good as the first one, some obvious improvements to the first. The story needed a bit more depth, in my opinion, and it would have taken it very far, but it is a must-watch for any fans of the Jumanji franchise and Dwayne Johnson.

by Rathi Ramakrishnan