Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is a sequel to the original movie that came out in 1995 with Robin Williams. This movie makes no references to that movie in any obvious way, which was kind of refreshing in a movie landscape filled with long continuities. It really uses this fact as a strength so that it can try to be recognized alongside the original, instead of always in its shadow. My impression is that they gave their attempt a solid effort.
The trailers of the movie at first instilled no hope in me. I was sad that they were going to make a sequel to Jumanji, with the team behind the reboot of Baywatch no less. Now, Baywatch was produced by Dwayne Johnson himself. That means he pretty much called all the shots, and the movie suffered for it. He did the same here with pretty similar results but with one big difference. He hired a wider range of talent to work on the movie. This goes from actors to visual effect houses. You can tell that there is a quality bump in the movie compared to Baywatch. I feel it is important to compare this movie with the Baywatch reboot more so than the original Jumanji because it allows me to be nicer to it.
This movie is filled with problems, problems that I quickly got over but that still lingered throughout the whole movie. Things like lines certain characters said, or using stereotypes to define characters. These problems never went away, but once you started to accept that it would never get better, it allowed the movie to become enjoyable. There were funny lines and scenes that really played to the movie's strengths. It feels like the script was tailor written for the actors, which means that it was perfect casting. One thing that was a strength and a weakness was how it was Dwayne Johnson focused. He really likes to make himself the focus of the movie, which when played to his strengths is good and shows a lack of range when acting.
If you can overcome overblown stereotypes as character backstories, if you can get over the weird lines that characters say, and you can power through the weird pacing, this is actually a fun movie. Lots of good jokes and lots of good gags. Definitely a step up from Baywatch. I am really happy that Johnson surrounded himself with better actors than he did with Baywatch. I feel like he is only as good as the people around him, but even that has a limit. I would recommend you eventually see it, it doesn't have to be in theaters.