Sequel delivers amusement park entertainment

“Jumanji: The Next Level” is the type of “theme park film” that director Martin Scorsese complained about earlier this year. It’s a rollicking good time, for sure, but it doesn’t add up to much. Enjoy the ride with the kiddies on Saturday night and then atone for your sins by spending Sunday afternoon with a pot of coffee watching Scorsese’s thoughtful, mob epic “The Irishman” on Netflix.

“The Next Level” ain’t gonna make no “best of” lists. But with its constant stream of punchlines, sweeping computer-generated action sequences, and cheap sentimentality, this is a film ideally suited for today’s exaggerated movie-going experience.

As the buckets of popcorn get bigger along with ever-expanding screens and plush recliner seating, audiences expect to be entertained not challenged. These days, save the thinking for the streaming platforms. At the metroplex, we want the amusement park treatment. Scorsese and something called “cinema” be damned!

“The Next Level” is the sequel to 2017’s “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.” “Jungle” was itself a reboot of 1995’s much loved “Jumanji.” Few could have predicted “Jungle’s” exponential success, but its cumulative gross was nearly a billion dollars. Naturally, a franchise was born. And arty cynicism aside, we get a solid sequel.

Read Jonathan’s complete review online and in print in the Times-Herald:

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