Jumanji: The Next Level [2019] ★★½

As far as sequels go, “The Next Level” is enjoyable enough. The harshest thing anyone can say about it is that it lacks the element of surprise, and understandably so. The 2017 movie caught audiences by surprise and delivered superior entertainment (although I was skeptical at first). So naturally, a sequel had to happen. Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black and Karen Gillan are all back, and newcomers Danny DeVito and Danny Glover are a pleasant addition to an already colorful cast. In terms of plot, the gang finds themselves back in Jumanji’s world yet again. It’s a whole new game this time around with even more challenging levels, so watching the story unfold is almost as fun as it was the first time around. I say almost because not all levels work equally well, and it can get hectic at times. But director Jake Kasdan keeps the action going by giving everyone the chance to shine. So yes, while it doesn’t exactly match the cleverness of its predecessor, “The Next Level” is still a fun ride for audiences of all ages. And by the end, we learn that there might be one more sequel to go. I’m in.

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