When's the last time you've been surprised, in general? Like say you were expecting to hate a particular experience that you ended up pleasantly surprised by how much you actually came to enjoy it. I think that that would be the perfect way to describe this movie and people's reactions toward it. I saw a few people comment on how awful the movie actually looked in its trailers. Though, if I'm being fair, in regards to these people, they may have still thought that the movie was terrible even after watching it, if they did bother to watch it. First impressions are really important and, really, in a lot of cases, that can make or break your movie for some people. I've always tried to be open-minded when it comes to that, but that doesn't mean that I'm not bound to judge a movie based on my reaction to its trailer. Like I've mentioned a few times before, I thought the trailer to Serenity was awful and that movie, realistically speaking, ended up being one of my favorite sci-fi movies of all time. I don't know if I'd say I was surprised at the fact that this movie was, you know, actually good. I'd say that I'm more surprised at the fact at how massively successful this movie ended up being. To put it into perspective, this was the FIFTH highest grossing movie of 2017. Ahead of such movies like SpiderMan: Homecoming, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Wonder Woman. All three of these movies are based on established, long-running franchises. Whereas this was a sequel/soft-reboot to a movie that was released, at this point, over 23 years ago. I suppose that nostalgia had SOMETHING to do with that, given that it's, again, the sequel to a somewhat beloved movie starring Robin Williams. But, realistically speaking, for this to be the fifth-highest grossing movie of last year, there has to be something more at play here than nostalgia. I was, quite literally, in the dark at the time of this film's release last year, so I do not have any knowledge as to how it was actually promoted. I think a mix of nostalgia, the strong casting and really positive word-of-mouth was the driving force for this film's success. Honestly, I can't really tell you what I was expecting out of this movie. I know I liked Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart in Central Intelligence. I know I like Jack Black and Karen Gillan, but I did not know how these four would come together and mesh in this type of setting. Though, to be fair, I think that, at the highest level, the casting is rarely ever a problem. So I think you could have, quite easily, predicted that this movie, at the very least, would have a great cast. Which it, obviously, does. I don't know if I would say that I was pleasantly surprised by this movie as it's not like I thought that this was the second coming of action adventure movies. But I definitely would say that I enjoyed my time with this movie quite a bit. Having said that, I do believe that the movie has some flaws. Chief among them being that I don't think there was enough material in this movie to justify a near two-hour runtime. I don't wanna say that the movie dragged horribly, but it did drag after the first 2/3rds or so of it. And this is, typically, when movies normally slow down, but I would have thought that this would have been kept to a short and sweet 95 minutes, in order for it to be more of a sprint to the finish, but that's not what happened. And the thing is, while I appreciate the film trying to give its characters some some sort of growth, it all, essentially, boils down to 'we're not so different after all', learning to work together as a team (in spite of those 'differences') and forming generic bonds of friendship. The plot borrows slightly from the original, as Alex Vreeke has been stuck in the game for 20 years, like Robin's character in the original, except he thinks he's only been in the game for a few months. I think one of the big problems the film suffers from, and perhaps I'm clearly overanalyzing what's, ultimately, a really silly movie, but there's a certain disconnect between the real-life characters and their in-game avatars. That's obviously supposed to be the gimmick. The shy, geeky teen is the big, strong and handsome man. The jock is the short, unathletic, basically, glorified backpack. The self-absorbed teen is the overweight, middle-aged man. And lastly, the shy, but cynical girl is the Lara Croft-ripoff. That's the thing, the teens are exactly the opposite of who they actually are in the game. But there's still a certain disconnect. And I really do not know how to explain it, but I feel that a lot of you might feel the same if you watch the movie as well. I mean, those are certainly some big issues, but I don't think it still dampened the fun I had with the movie. I did like how the in-game Jumanji stuff does kind of feel like an old-school video game like Crash Bandicoot or even the aforementioned Tomb Raider. But, quite clearly, the movie borrows a lot from series like Indiana Jones with the traps and whatnot and more modern gaming franchises like Uncharted with the bigger set piece moments. But, really, the driving force of the movie is the chemistry between the four leads and, honestly, they do deliver the goods and they really are the lifeblood of the movie. That's not to suggest that any of these four are irreplaceable, but they definitely carry a lot of the load and they do a great job. That the humor isn't out of this world isn't much of a bother, the movie is entertaining enough, so its comedy doesn't need to be outstanding. One thing that I do wonder about is how come the characters instantly assume that, they're given three lives, once they lose all three lives, they die in the game and in the real world. What would lead them to make that assumption? I realize I'm looking at this as someone who, you know, actually plays video games and also as someone who thinks logically, but wouldn't dying, technically, spit me out into the real world again? Or, at worst, just take me back to the beginning. Granted, Jumanji is a bit of an asshole of a game, so it probably is going to find a way to kill them in real life as well, but it's just something to think about. With that said, as I mentioned, there are clearly a lot of flaws with this movie, but this offers a fun and completely undemanding popcorn experience. Pacing issues and bland character development aside, the fun interplay between the cast, the setting and the tone definitely help make up for a lot of its deficiencies. It's not perfect, but it entertained me. Ultimately that's all that matters. I'd definitely recommend this if you're looking for something that's easy to watch, nothing more, nothing less.