Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle was a major success in 2017 when it scored well with critics and went on to make a gargantuan $962 million at the global box office. The sequel, The Next Level, opens in theatres on December 13 behind a lot of anticipation and hype.
Reviews for the big-budget action film, which stars Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, and Karen Gillan, have begun to appear online. To help you decide if it’s worth your time, we’re collecting excerpts from reviews into a roundup so you can get a glimpse at the critical reception quickly.
Like the 2017 film, The Next Level sees a group of teens–and this time a pair of old men played by Danny DeVito and Danny Glover–get sucked into the video game Jumanji. In the jungle world of Jumanji they take on different avatars of younger people. An adventure full of action and silliness ensues.
Crazy Rich Asians star Awkwafina and Game of Thrones actor Rory McCann also join the cast for The Next Level, while Nick Jonas and Rhys Darby reprise their characters from the first movie. Jake Kasdan, the son of legendary Star Wars writer Lawrence Kasdan and director of 2017’s Jumanji, returns to direct The Next Level.
Scroll down to see excerpts from reviews, while you can visit GameSpot sister site Metacritic to see a deeper breakdown of the movie’s critical reception.
The Jumanji series is based on the Chris Van Allsburg children’s book. It was first adapted for the screen with 1995’s Jumanji starring Robin Williams, Bonnie Hunt, and Kirsten Dunst.
Jumanji: The Next Level
- Directed By: Jake Kasdan
- Written By: Jake Kasdan, Jeff Pinker, Scott Rosenberg
- Starring: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, Karen Gillan, Danny DeVito, Danny Glover, Rhys Darby, Awkwafina, and Nick Jonas.
- Release Date: December 13 (US)
“All told, Jumanji: The Next Level just never manages to find enough a solid enough foundation to make things work the way they ought to. Sure, you’re going to probably get a handful of decent laughs and, if you’re a person who plays video games, you’ll catch more than a few clever nods to various genre conventions and story tropes, but there just isn’t enough meat on those bones to make its 2 hour run time worthwhile.” — Meg Downey [Full review]
“Jumanji: The Next Level is a blast. Instead of relying solely on its proven premise, we get to know more about the kids and the adults playing the game. There are still moments of silliness, but there is also a whole lot of heart here. What seems like something that is going to be a tired retread turns out to be far more fun than expected.” — Jenna Busch [Full review]
“It is, most importantly, amusing and creative. It may not follow its storylines to the most logical conclusions, and it may not reinvent the action movie as we know it. It’s still an enjoyable blockbuster sequel that tries to infuse the original idea with a couple new ideas, while setting the stage for more exciting adventures to come.” — William Bibbiani [Full review]
Consequence of Sound
“As kids’ fare goes, this series remains weird enough to not totally write it off. But for the next version, they might have to work out some of the bugs.” — Clint Worthington [Full review]
“But maybe, like adolescent heroes, movie franchises go through growing pains, too; if Sony comes up with a third boss to best, there’s plenty of room in Jumanji to let more feeling in alongside the action. Because even if The Next Level doesn’t set a new high score, it still proves this franchise isn’t out of lives just yet.” — Mary Sollosi [Full review]
The Hollywood Reporter
Viewers who think the movie hangs onto enjoyability as precariously as an action hero with seven fingertips clawed into a crumbling cliffside may sigh with relief when, once they’re safe back home, our young stars swear enthusiastically never to go back to the world of Jumanji. Those viewers would be wise to note that nobody swore the studio wouldn’t someday soon bring the world of Jumanji to them. — John DeFore [Full review]