The Morning After: Feb. 10, 2020

Welcome to The Morning After, where I share with you what movies I’ve seen over the past week. Below, you will find short reviews of those movies along with a star rating. Full length reviews may come at a later date.

So, here is what I watched this past week:

Jumanji: The Next Level

When Jumanji came out in 1995, there was little like it in cinema and the concept was so entertaining that it drew audiences in droves and gave Robin Williams one of his biggest successes of the decade. When it was rebooted in 2017, there was a lot riding on the film and the end result was something truly hilarious, even better than the original film. Jumanji: The Next Level picks up a year after the events of the prior film as the four high schoolers are separated by college, but return home for a reunion.

Two new characters are introduced to audiences this time, Spencer’s grandfather played by Danny DeVito, and his grandfather’s former business partner played by Danny Glover. Inside the game, we get one new character played by Awkwafina. The complications of the plot are such that discussing it too deeply would give it away. Suffice it to say, the same overarching concept of the prior film is there, but the new adventure will take them across deserts, gorges, and snowy mountains. The original players are back inside the game. Dwayne Johnson tries to affect a new accent that doesn’t work; Jack Black nails everything he does; Kevin Hart is also on point; and the prior film’s M.V.P., Karen Gillan, is given quite a bit to do, but doesn’t really excel at any of it; Nick Jonas does a rather unexceptional job; and Awkwafina tries her best, but comes off a bit awkward at times, though is certainly third in this roster.

The reboot caught everyone off guard with some tremendously funny comedy with a fascinating story at its heart. The story here is pretty solid, but the hilarity is largely below its predecessor. There’s still promise for the expected third film in the series, but I suspect there may be a bit of diminishing returns with each successive film, at least if this one is indicative.

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