Dwayne Johnson has some new enemies in the first poster for Jumanji: The Next Level. The Rock, of course, is reprising his Welcome to the Jungle role as the in-game avatar, Dr. Smolder Bravestone, in the upcoming sequel, with his costars Jack Black, Karen Gillan, and Kevin Hart also returning. This time, however, the twist is that Dr. Bravestone is "played" by none other than Danny DeVito, who's costarring as Eddie Gilpin, aka. Spencer's (Alex Wolff) grouchy grandfather. In fact, save for Gillan's Ruby Roundhouse, all five of the Jumanji avatars are "played" by someone different in The Next Level.
According to the official trailer, The Next Level's plot kicks off when Spencer secretly repairs the Jumanji cartridge and re-enters the game (for reason that remain to be fully explained). When his pals Martha (Morgan Turner), Bethany (Madison Iseman), and "Fridge" (Ser'Darius Blain) go after him in an effort to save him, they inadvertently bring both Eddie and his offbeat companion, Milo Walker (Danny Glover), along with them. And if that wasn't enough, the world of Jumanji has changed since their last visit, and is now full of new challenges and threats - including, one that's featured in the film's poster.
Johnson posted the first Jumanji: The Next Level one-sheet to his Twitter account today, shortly before Sony made it officially available. You can check it out in the space below.
Although The Next Level includes several new environments and creatures (like the monkeys in this poster) that didn't appear in Welcome to the Jungle, the Jumanji sequel otherwise features most of the same cast and crew as that film (including, writers Jeff Pinkner and Scott Rosenberg, and director Jake Kasdan). It will be interesting to see if the movie benefits from the experience they gained making the previous Jumanji, as a result. Welcome to the Jungle become a smash hit after opening in December 2017, grossing $962 million at the global box office and earning critical praise for its good-natured comedy and fun execution. At the same time, it did leave room for improvement in The Next Level, especially when it comes to the action sequences and CGI-heavy set pieces (both of which were solid, but nothing too special in Welcome to the Jungle).
The Next Level only began production back in February, (ahead of its December release date) so there is some reason to be concerned that it will ultimately feel a bit rushed and rough around the edges. That being said, the marketing has been promising so far, and the sequel seems like it could be worth the price of admission just to watch The Rock "portray" DeVito alone. Plus, much like Welcome to the Jungle did two years ago, Jumanji: The Next Level may provide a relaxingly silly change of pace from the dramatic awards season fare and more serious franchise movies that will be playing in theaters towards the end of 2019.
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- Jumanji: The Next Level (2019) release date: Dec 13, 2019