1.) The main cast of this film works well together. As avatars of the main characters, Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, and Karen Gillan have great chemistry with each other, making it believable that they work as a team despite having major flaws in their characters (especially Bethany considering that she is stuck in a man’s body). The only exception is Nick Jonas since he is the worst actor out of all of them (especially when he has to act out a few dramatic moments and he cannot do it).
2.) There are some decent character arcs throughout the film. A couple of them are generic and predictable (i.e. Spencer and Fridge’s relationship), but they are delivered well enough that these characters end up learning some great lessons after the events of the film (i.e. Bethany spends so much time on her phone, so you can guess what she is going to learn in the film).
3.) The comedy works here despite a difference in tone compared to the original Jumanji. While it is helped by the chemistry of the main cast, there are some legitimate laugh-out-loud moments that will satisfy anyone that is looking for a good laugh…
1.) …That being said, comedy is subjective, and it may depend on you if you like this type of comedy or not. For example, if you are not a fan of Kevin Hart’s comedic routine, you are going to get annoyed throughout the entire film. There are areas of comedy that I did not really laugh as much, but the audience did, so it is up to you if you really enjoy it (which I am sure you can tell what type of comedy it is with its trailers and ads).
2.) If you are not familiar with video game mechanics and logic, this film may annoy you a bit. In fact, it may still annoy you even if you are a gamer considering that the video game world of Jumanji does not exactly follow a logical pattern other than for the main characters. It will take a while to get use to, but over time, you will understand the ways of the video game world, especially if you are a gamer.
3.) There are plenty of times that the film halts for a while for character development, comedic moments, or exposition. While I can see that a few of those moments or scenes are necessary, I wish it was delivered better that it did not seem that it was slowing the film down. I suggest trimming down or remove some of those scenes (or in a few cases, develop it more in the first act), and then the film will have a flowing pace.
I grew up watching the original Jumanji (1995) with Robin Williams so many times and even read the original book at times when I was young. When I heard they were making a stand-alone sequel to the original film, I was skeptical especially after watching the trailer. I can tell you with confidence that the film is quite fun. It may not have the emotional and dramatic tone and impact as the original, but it does its own thing by becoming adventurous, fun, and comedic. The film does have its flaws like there are a couple of plot holes and the villain is forgettable (although I argue that the whole game itself is the antagonist), but it does its own thing while capturing the spirit of the original Jumanji. If you enjoy the 1995 film, you will like the sequel just fine, and even people do not have to see the original in order to appreciate this film. If you wanted a fun time during Christmas (assuming if you have seen it at that time) or New Years, then welcome to the jungle that is this film.