Dwayne Johnson sure seems like he is peaking right now, coming out with blockbusters all over the place with likely more on the way. He’s become one of the most sought-after actors and talents in all of Hollywood, with fame in the rarified air territory. When examining the best Dwayne Johnson movie, there are certainly quite a number to choose from. He’s been a prolific dude on the big screen over the last couple of decades, with the spectacle only growing in recent years.
But in terms of a Dwayne Johnson movie that hits on nearly level, combining his brawn with a bunch of comedy in a tongue-in-cheek story about “finding yourself”, I think Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle ranks right up there with his best. It combines nearly everything that makes Johnson so strong on-screen and surrounds him with some other A-list comedy talent.
The Dwayne Johnson movie Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is a follow-up to the original Jumanji film with some of the same plot devices, though updated for a more modern world. The cursed game is now in video game form and four high schoolers stumble on it while serving weekend detention. The foursome is a cliched group on purpose with the nerd, the jock, the quiet girl, and the popular “it” girl. They are quickly sucked into the game after choosing their respective avatars.
And this is where this Dwayne Johnson movie really makes its bones because each is turned into something wholly different than their high school self. First and foremost, the nerdy and neurotic Alex speeds into the game only to find himself as Dwayne Johnson, a stunning turn of events for a dude who didn’t have a muscle to speak up of in the “real world”.
Along with Dwayne Johnson who is now Dr. Xander “Smolder” Bravestone in the game, the rest of the group sees their identities and images flipped considerably. Football player Anthony “Fridge” Johnson is now Mouse Finbar, a diminutive zoologist who has to hump around an oversized backpack of weapons in the game. Quiet girl Martha is now Ruby Roundhouse, a scantily-clad stunner who is coming completely underdressed for time in the jungle. And stuck up and vain Bethany is now Professor Sheldon Oberon, an overweight and middle-aged academic. You can see how this all goes down in the trailer for Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle:
Watching this Dwayne Johnson movie, with the actor literally in awe of himself is one of the many things that makes Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle work so well. The role reversal piece of the story just keeps the laughs coming throughout with each character having to lean into the things that work for them in the game even if they stand in stark contrast to their own high school persona. Taking the story in this direction was a brilliant move, and combined with the high-level special effects of the Jumanji world, make for an action-packed romp all the way through.
Joining Dwayne Johnson in the movie are a number of other notables, all of who bring their own particular brand of comedy and hijinks to the story. Kevin Hart is Finbar, constantly pining to have his other, football-ready body back. Karen Gillan is Roundhouse, rightfully confused about why she’s wearing a crop top, but also now able to kick considerable ass. And there’s Jack Black, perfectly cast as Oberon, the new version of Bethany. It just all works and this foursome play off each other perfectly in the banter, confusion, and ultimately teamwork they need to get out of this Jumanji mess.
Dwayne Johnson has a hit in every sense of the word with Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. For starters, it completely crushed at the box office, earning north of $960 million on its $150 million budget. This was just one reason a sequel, Jumanji: The Next Level followed just a couple of years later.
And the critics loved this as well. It’s one of Dwayne Johnson’s highest-rated movies scoring 76% on Rotten Tomatoes and 58 on Metacritic. Critics were quick to point out just how much fun there is to be had in this flick, with Dwayne Johnson leading the way in that respect. If you haven’t gotten a chance to see it, or the sequel, now is the time. That’s because Dwayne Johnson and Jake Kasdan are busy at work making a trilogy out of this franchise.
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