There's a lot of love for Kevin Hart in first reactions to 'Jumanji: The Next Level'

(Sony Pictures)
(Sony Pictures)

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.

Read more: Watch the trailer for Jumanji: The Next Level

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.

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.

Read more: Watch extended version of Hart’s Hobbs and Shaw cameo

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.

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.

Read more: Dwayne Johnson fans fall for social media death hoax

Jumanji: The Next Level lands in UK cinemas on 11 December, with the USA getting it a few days later on 13 December.