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Space Jam 2

Space Jam A New Legacy
Though the technical wizardry involved here can't be denied, 2021's Space Jam A New Legacy is an overlong and overambitious re-thinking of the hit 1996 film that definitely suffers from "sequel-itis"...the cinematic sequel formula that tries too hard to make everything bigger and better than the first movie, and, as usual, the results are exhausting and hanging until the credits roll is a chore.

In this film, an artificial intelligence named Al G Rhythm (Don Cheadle), who has his own server at Warner Brothers kidnaps the son of NBA star Lebron James, who hates basketball but is creating his own basketball video game, and tells Lebron the only way to get his son back is to get the Toons to help him win a basketball game against his team, the Goon Squad, who are actually from his son's game brought to life. If Lebron loses the game, everyone in the game and all the spectators will be trapped in Al G's server forever.

First of all, this is really a re-imagining of the 1996 film, as it really has nothing to do with that film, except for the fact that a basketball player finds himself interacting with Warner Brothers cartoon characters. Sadly, Lebron James; one-note performance here isn't as nearly as entertaining as Michael Jordan was in the first film, which made remaining invested in what was happening difficult.

The screenwriters took way too long with the confusing exposition that leads up to Lebron leaving Toon Town with Bugs, who is all alone there now, and finding teammates for this game. It's confusing when Lebron and Bugs travel to DC land looking for help from Batman and Superman, but end up with Daffy, Granny, the Road Runner, and Bugs' squeeze, Lola Bunny, who is battling Wonder Woman when we first see her. For some reason, Daffy, who provided a lion's portion of the laughs in the first film is regulated to the sidelines as a coach in this one.

Director Malcom D Lee, who directed films like The Best Man and Girls Trip might have been a little out of his element here. Despite all the dazzling animation and visual effects involved, this film moves at a snail's pace and seems to go on forever. Don Cheadle easily walks off with the film with his slick and sharp Al G Rhythm. And if you don't doze off, you'll catch cameos by Lil Rel Howery, Anthony Davis, Ernie Johnson, Draymond Green, and Sue Bird. This time around the voice of Lola Bunny is provided by Zendaya. An "A" for effort, but it takes too long to get going and too long to wrap up.