The Disney+ Sci-Fi Sequel No One Thought Would Ever Be Made

By Jason Collins | Updated

1996’s Space Jam is among the best basketball movies out there, particularly aimed at younger audiences. The fans have been clamoring for a sequel to the iconic release, and 25 years later, right after everyone had nearly given up, the sequel arrived. 2021’s Space Jam: A New Legacy featured LeBron James as its main basketball star, and despite being a Warner Bros. movie, it made its way on Disney+. However, the Disney+ × Hulu merger is still in beta, and viewing the movie requires an active Hulu subscription.

LeBron James Stars In Space Jam: A New Legacy

While many might consider the film’s arrival on the platform of one of Warner Bros.’s biggest competitors strange, it’s entirely possible that Warner Bros. sold the streaming rights to Disney after the film’s poor performance. For those of you who aren’t in the know, Space Jam: A New Legacy continues to blend live-action and animation, which the original movie is known for, and the narrative once again centers on a basketball superstar who becomes trapped in another world. This time, LeBron James gets trapped in a digital world governed by a rogue AI called Al-G Rhythm (Don Cheadle).

The Sequel Keeps The Spirit Of The Original

LeBron James teams up with the legendary Looney Toons characters to play against Al-G Rhythm’s digitized champions. We won’t dive too much into who’s who and what’s what, but the movie keeps the original’s spirit alive. There’s a high-stakes basketball game, a contemporary basketball star, the Loony Toons, and a blend of live-action and animation.

The animations, visuals, and themes have been updated to resonate with contemporary audiences. But, and there’s always a “but” somewhere, the movie didn’t fare well among the critics.

A New Legacy Didn’t Match Space Jam’s Success

The original Space Jam was a massive success from an era in which Warner Bros. had some creationary vision, which is reflected by the fact that the movie tripled its production budget in box office returns. However, the new Warner Bros. is much more of a reactionary company than a visionary one, often reflected by its failure to get a proper DC cinematic universe off the ground. Sadly, this makes Space Jam: A New Legacy a poorly calculated money-grab strategy rather than a well-thought-out sequel to a legendary release from the ’90s.

Critics Derided The Movie As A Warner Bros. Commerical

So, the reception of Space Jam: A New Legacy was mixed, at best, and the movie barely recuperated its production budget at the box office. The movie wasn’t technically a flop, but the critics disliked it, particularly for its perceived lack of humor, earnest light-heartedness, and overt promotion of Warner Bros.’s other intellectual properties, like Harry Potter and Game of Thrones. Some even called the movie a large Warner Bros. commercial; admittedly, they might not be wrong. Audiences, however, liked the movie.

Space Jam: A New Legacy Is Harmless Fun

Space Jam: A New Legacy remains well-liked among younger audiences and fans of the original movie, who appreciate its humor and the updated take on the story. Promotional content aside, it does a good job of bridging the generational gap between the fans of the original and the new generation of viewers. On top of that, it serves as an introduction to a timeless ’90s classic. Those who missed Space Jam: A New Legacy in theaters can now enjoy it on Disney+, though viewing the film also requires an active Hulu subscription.