Let’s Talk Movies: Jumanji: The Next Level (2019) Review

Joe Johnston’s Jumanji was one of the most popular films to feature the late Robin Williams, so when Columbia Pictures opted to reboot the franchise in 2017, the production company had a lot to live up to. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle turned out to be the perfect reboot as it took the story in a new direction and didn’t retcon anything from the 1995 film.

Former wrestler and now full-time actor Dwayne Johnson was a huge contributing factor to the success of Jake Kasdan’s picture, and his reprisal of the role in The Next Level enabled the 2019 movie to become a box office sensation as well.

Winning Formula

Johnson was fantastic in the role of Dr. Xander “Smolder” Bravestone in both rebooted movies, but his fellow cast members Karen Gillan, Jack Black, and Kevin Hart all put in memorable performances as well. The chemistry and consistency of the ensemble helped the subsequent sequel, to pull in viewers who loved them in Welcome to the Jungle. However, The Next Level shook up the formula and also added a few new cast members to great effect.

Danny Glover and Danny DeVito were the key newcomers to the franchise. In the 2019 picture, the elderly men ended up getting sucked into the Jumanji game as well. In a fun twist, all the avatars from Welcome to the Jungle changed, meaning that the cast members from the previous film were all playing different characters this time.
For example, in the first reboot, Black played Bethany’s avatar. However, in the second, the School of Rock actor took on the role of Fridge for most of the film. In typical hilarious fashion, he then went on to switch between different avatars, becoming Martha and Bethany at different times in the film.

The Next Level has all the video game elements that appeal to players of modern and retro games, with many of the more successful tropes borrowed from the 2017 film. For instance, the characters once again had a list of strengths and weaknesses, but some of these had been altered based on the events of the previous movie.

A Successful Addition to the Franchise

The Next Level raked in $800 million worldwide, making it the tenth-highest grossing film of 2019. It was a box office hit against its initial budget of around $130 million but wasn’t quite as big as its predecessor. Welcome to the Jungle earned $962 million worldwide and was the fifth-highest grossing film of 2017.

The Next Level is certainly a worthy addition to a franchise that appears to be expanding. There have already been several related games that have served to raise awareness of the reboots and have helped them to achieve these figures. Jumanji: The Mobile Game was released alongside the 2017 reboot and Jumanji: The Video Game hit shelves alongside the 2019 offering.

In addition, among the innovative, top online casinos in 2022, there are several well-established institutions that offer the Jumanji slot game from NetEnt. This title is renowned as one of the most popular slots on the online casino market and is available for casual players in the form of free play or real-time, competitive play for real money.

Evidently, the franchise has capitalized on media platforms outside of the film industry to stay relevant over the years. Perhaps Jumanji’s longevity is owed to the success of games such as the ones mentioned so far, as well as the universal appeal of the premise, which resonates with both faithful fans of the original iteration and the younger generation that identify with the reboot.

Will it Lead to Another in the Series?

It’s clear that the Jumanji franchise is expanding, and this is highlighted by all the related games. Including the revenue from the original, the Jumanji franchise has already made more than $2 billion. It would make a lot of sense for there to be at least one more entry in the series.

Kasdan has all but confirmed that there will be a Jumanji 4, and it’s highly likely that Johnson will return to the franchise as well. The director and actor are working on Red One together this year, showing how strong their relationship is. Johnson will be one of the main marketing tools to get people to see the new movie, so it’s important that he’s signed on to the project.

The Next Level was not quite as good as Welcome to the Jungle, but it did enough to keep viewers on their toes. There were some incredibly funny scenes, brought to life by the highly skilled actors. The success of the 2019 offering warrants at least one more film in the franchise, possibly more.

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