The first reactions are in for comedy-adventure sequel Jumanji: The Next Level — and Kevin Hart is being singled out for a tonne of praise.
Early responses from the special screening were very positive, with journalists in attendance praising the “higher stakes” and “great surprises” of the film.
The story picks up after the events of the surprise 2017 hit Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle with high-schooler Spencer piecing together the titular game once again and becoming trapped within it.
As well as his friends from the first movie, they are joined by his grandfather Eddie (Danny DeVito) and Eddie’s eccentric friend Milo (Danny Glover).
Hart portrays video game avatar Mouse Finbar in the movie, which means that this time he’s channeling Glover’s character when he is transported into the game.
It is Hart’s performance drawing the majority of the praise, with WatchMojo presenter Rebecca Brayton saying this movie belongs to Hart as the first one belonged to Jack Black.
Just came out of the #Jumanji The Next Level screening! Super fun, higher stakes, more emotional moments. For me, the first one belonged to @jackblack; this one is @KevinHart4real’s. But everyone was stellar as always. Also, great surprises in store! pic.twitter.com/h2jJTAdvGZ
— Rebecca Brayton | WatchMojo (@rebeccabrayton) November 20, 2019
Hard 2 top @jackblack as a teenage girl in the last #Jumangi film, but @KevinHart4real as Danny Glover DOES IT! Omg - I could listen 2 him tell me the backstory of wild animals all day! Congrats @jumanjimovie filmmakers & gang #thenextlevel @TheRock @karengillan @HarkinsTheatres pic.twitter.com/LHfFZwd0Z0
— Tara Hitchcock (@TaraTV1) November 20, 2019
Here’s what’s next level about #JumanjiTheNextLevel - @KevinHart4real as Danny Glover. ❤️The set pieces- brilliant! This time you really feel you are immersed in a video game. Danny DeVito charms and @therock goes ott in channeling him. What a blast!
— Nikki Novak (@NikkiNovak) November 20, 2019
Hart was able to attend the film’s premiere earlier this week, as well as the special screening in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico just months after suffering horrific injuries in a near-fatal car accident in September.
The actor has said he now sees life “from a whole new perspective” and has a new appreciation for his existence.
Other responses to Jumanji praised the entire ensemble cast, led by Dwayne Johnson as heroic avatar Dr Smolder Bravestone and including Jack Black, Karen Gillan, Nick Jonas and Awkwafina.
#Jumanji’s sequel #TheNextLevel does what few sequels can do... make a movie that’s just as good, if not better than the first. They kept what was fun and built on it, with hilarious changes that left me laughing out loud often. Worth seeing #JumanjiTheNextLevel! pic.twitter.com/fRgDwywta2
— Maude Garrett (@maudegarrett) November 20, 2019
JUST screened @jumanjimovie here in #Cabo where we are filming cast interviews later this week! I CANT WAIT! SO AWESOME to see this story continue on the big screen. You wont be disappointed...it's a FUN ride! #Jumanji #JumanjiTheNextLevel
— dave morales (@daveBackstageOL) November 20, 2019
Body swap movies are the greatest - especially a body swap movie with an A+ ensemble like #JumanjiTheNextLevel. The action is fun but I could watch Johnson, Hart, Gillan and Black play with that format for hours. And now with Awkwafina too! Such a great addition to the group! pic.twitter.com/87TM7nyiQ9
— Perri Nemiroff (@PNemiroff) November 20, 2019
#Jumanji #TheNextLevel is hilarious. It’s impossible to pick one cast member who stands out above the rest. It has some unexpected heart, too. Big time.
Everyone is so damn funny. @TheRock @KevinHart4real @karengillan @jackblack @awkwafina pic.twitter.com/DMUFh7xAba
— Brandon Davis (@BrandonDavisBD) November 20, 2019
The previous Jumanji movie was a surprise hit, drawing strong reviews from critics and earning an impressive $962m (£743m) at the worldwide box office.
A sequel was greenlit quickly, reuniting the original cast and director Jake Kasdan, who has also made comedies Bad Teacher and Sex Tape.
Jumanji: The Next Level lands in UK cinemas on 11 December, with the USA getting it a few days later on 13 December.