It has been a year since we left Brantford, New Hampshire and the teenagers who were sucked into the video game “Jumanji” and became jungle explorers. The gang has graduated from high school and gone out into the world. “Fridge “Johnson (Ser’Darius Blain) is into body building, Martha (Morgan Turner) has become a popular girl in college, Bethany (Madison Iseman) has been traveling the world doing charity work, and Spencer (Alex Wolff) is working his way through college working at a supermarket in New York City. Christmas holidays are approaching and all have agreed to meet at Nora’s Diner to catch up.
But all is not going well with Spencer. He hates his job and regrets putting his relationship on hold when Martha went across the country to college. But the clincher is that returning home, he finds himself sharing his bedroom with his grandfather, Eddie, (Danny Devito) who is recovering from hip surgery.
Upon hearing Spencer’s problems, Eddie is full of advice. He tells Spencer that college is the best time of his life and that things can only go downhill from here. Spencer lays awake thinking and finally sneaks downstairs to the basement realizing that the best moments of his life were spent as Dr. Smolder Bravestone (Dwayne Johnson), hero of “Jumanji.” Finding the broken game cartridge that he secretly kept at the end of the first adventure, Spencer barely repairs it and restarts the game hoping to once again become the hero.
When Spencer doesn’t show up the next morning at the diner, his friends become worried and go to his house to check on him. There they find Grandpa Eddie and his former business partner, Milo (Danny Glover) talking old times and old disagreements. After checking upstairs, they go down into the basement and find the barely functioning controller and realize Spencer has gone back to Jumanji but why? All they know is that it took everyone to survive the first time so Spencer needs their help!
Falling back into Jumanji, Martha and Fridge are surprised that the game has changed since their first visit. Martha is once again Ruby Roundhouse (Karen Gillan) but Fridge is now in the body of Prof. Shelly Oberon (Jack Black)! The broken controller has also sucked Grandpa Eddie, as Bravestone and Milo as “Mouse “ Finbar (Kevin Hart). Where’s Bethany?
Soon arriving is game guide Nigel Billingsley, who gives them their new mission: Jurgen the Brutal, who killed Bravestone’s parents has stolen the Falcon Jewel which causes Jumanji to remain fertile and green. The four explorers must locate Jurgen and steal the jewel, “show it to the Sun” and call out Jumanji’s name to win.
The players have been set and the mission given. More than that I cannot share.
“Jumanji: The Next Adventure” is action-packed yet provides laughs and life lessons at every turn. It could easily be a standalone blockbuster rather than a sequel. Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart add another level of funny to their characters. Danny Devito and Danny Glover are just the right additions. Their interactions give new comedic fodder for physical comedy. Also watch for Nick Jonas returning as Alec and Awkwafina (“Crazy Rich Asians”) as new character Ming.
The story is more complicated; the clues more interesting and subtle. See it! Enjoy it! Get ready to laugh!
“Jumanji: The Next Level” is rated PG-13 for adventure action, suggestive content and some language.