Sure, this is generally the same story structure as the first, the characters are trapped in a video game and have to win it to get out, but I found Jumanji: the Next Level to be a fairly entertaining time.
The movie's biggest strength is it is just having fun. Humor works pretty well, though a bit about the two elderly new comers to the game Eddie and Milo having trouble understanding what is going was stretched way too long. The characters all still work well off each of each other.
The action is bigger than the first and pretty impressive. I liked that their are more animal threats in this, which make the events feel more diverse. The film looks nice. The location is shifted from the traditional jungle to other exotic locales keeping things fresh.
The best new additions are Eddied, the crotchety old guy, and Milo, the affable but long-winded old guy. These guys serve as fresh new eyes to the world of Jumanji and are pretty funny, but their best aspect is their interactions with each other and the personal story of how these two once friends became estranged.
The cast playing the video game avatars that the characters become continue to do a great job. This time, some of them are given a chance to play different people. Everyone's pretty versatile. Awkwafina's in this and she is equally talented. I'm disappointed that Danny Devito and Danny Glover as the real world Eddie and Milo aren't in more of this, because I felt these were one of their best roles.
We really didn't need Nick Jonas back in this. He's mainly here because he was in the last one. The guy doesn't add much, especially since the cast is a little full as it is. Also, I felt the part of the introduction with real world Spencer (Alex Wolff) was a little rushed.
The villain in this Jurgen the Brutal (Rory McCann) has a little more to him than the paper-thin villain from the last film but not by much. You probably won't think of him after seeing this.
Overall, I liked the first movie, because the concept was fresher but this is a fun ride.