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Hayden's Overall Grade: B+
I want to start this review off by saying I really wasn't sure what to expect when taking my seat in the theater. I had watched the trailers for Jumanji 2 and and was genuinely looking forward to the reboot/sequel. I loved the original and I believe it was one of Robin Williams' best films. We are in a day and age when Hollywood is all about sequels and franchises and they can end up being hit or miss. In recent years, we have seen it work out with Creed bringing the Rocky franchise back and we have seen it fail with the recently released Mummy movie. I was hoping a childhood relic like Jumanji wouldn't join the list of franchises ruined by a sequel.
Fortunately for me, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle really delivered a great mix of nostalgia and modernization that made the film relatable to people new and old to the franchise. The revamp they gave it was like a nice, new coat of paint. It brought the old parts of the game that made it dated and brought it into current day. I loved the comedic timing it possessed and all of the cast brought their A games. It really flowed well and was just an amazing action-packed comedy ride from start to finish.
Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is the hottest thing going today. It seems like you can't watch the opening trailers at the theater without seeing at least one new movie from the Brahma Bull. He really brought one of his best performances to date with this movie as the main hero of the team. The fun part was that he was playing a sensitive, unconfident teenage boy that was trapped in his body. It was great to see Johnson really show his acting range and give us a taste of his sensitive side as he held back tears on more then one occasion. This really was a fine job by the great one.
Kevin Hart brought to the table what Kevin Hart always brings and that is jokes about his size. It is a formula that has worked well for him in the past and here it worked as well. It was given even more emphasis by the fact that Hart was playing a teenage football player that was twice his size. This allowed him to play his size routine from a different angle and made it seem fresh.
Karen Gillian was the breakout star for me in this film and it was refreshing to see. She really showed off her comedic chops and showed that she belonged on the top billing next to Johnson and Hart. She really showed great personality in her first blockbuster role where she isn't covered in makeup. She used her great comedic skills that have been on display in the first two 'Guardians of the Galaxy' films, where she plays Nebula. I really enjoyed her performance and I hope she gets more chances to shine in the future.
Jack Black is back baby. I was so excited to see Black back in a starting role and he delivered by far. He really seemed like he was playing the role of a self-obsessed teenage girl. Every scene he was involved in really landed and he really carried this film with his comedy. Nick Jonas played his part great in his role and made you genuinely feel bad for him that he was stuck there for 20 years. The rest of the supporting cast was great and the four kids that eventually ended up in the game all delivered great performances.
Overall, I really enjoyed this movie and was happy that it didn't end up ruining the legacy the first film had. It was a great addition to the franchise and opens the door for more films down the line. It was a great joy for me to watch this film.
Recommendation - Go see this movie and I promise you will be laughing till your side hurts.