Welcome to the slam! Are you ready for the jam? Just kidding…this long-awaited sequel decides to not utilize the incredibly killer jam of a theme song from the original Space Jam. That is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to this disappointing sequel from the nostalgic film of my 90’s childhood. I will never argue that the original is a genuinely great film…but it looks like The Godfather when compared to this sequel that has arrived 25 years later. Why does this film exist? Did they really need to add another layer to the constant comparisons between Michael Jordan and Lebron James? If this ever is used to make an actual comparison, then MJ blows Lebron clear out of the water.
But what could possibly be so wrong about this long-gestating sequel? The most glaring issue is the fact that Lebron is terribly unlikeable in this film. This time around we have a conflict between Lebron and his son because all Lebron wants is his son to play basketball. But his son wants to make video games. James is a forcible and overbearing father who does not care about his family’s feelings. He is even obnoxious and awkward when they try to make him nicer and looney later in the film. Why do we want him to win then? The other big thing is the whole plot is half-baked. The antagonist is an algorithm…named Al G Rhythm (are you serious?) who is portrayed in an insufferable way by Don Cheadle. The plot is hollow and stupid, so why care? When you have no soul, then this IP driven vehicle can never truly work.
What makes the original different? Everyone had motivations and something to prove. The new bad team, The Goon Squad, is just…there. The Monstars at least were bullied and had something to prove. MJ felt like he had something to prove and was taking the drama of the story seriously. That does not occur this time around. A New Legacy seems more concerned about cramming in as many Warner Brothers properties as possible to advertise. How can you see them all while paying attention to the action? What does the film want us to focus on? Obviously, the actual plot does not really matter…which feels pointless. Speaking of the game, it makes zero sense. The game is created by Lebron’s son and seems to have zero rhyme or reason. When that is the case, there is no suspense watching the game because you cannot tell how much is needed to turn things around. After one-hour of set-up (why?), we get 45-minutes of this game which feels like it has no logic at all.
But there must be some positives, right? Something to focus on to avoid getting terribly frustrated. The Looney Tunes are fun at least (minus the obnoxious Porky Pig rap…yikes). These iconic characters are fun, but they do not get the same level of sharp pop culture and meta humor they get in the first film. That means the Tunes are fun…but not as much fun this time around. Bugs and Lebron do go on an IP hopping adventure to round up the crew which is loads of fun. But it is so short which I do not get when this film has two whole hours to work with. One cameo was extra fun that got me to really laugh. But that is it…not much to really love about this unsatisfying sequel experience.
Was the 25 years wait worth it to finally get another Space Jam? No…not in the slightest. Why does WB care so much more about advertising their properties instead of focusing on a quality story to deliver? Money. I am sure plenty of people will check this one out due to nostalgia but this time around it will not be so kind. Lebron is no MJ in the world of Looney Tunes. It makes me wish we got this sequence years ago when MJ was still circling his basketball career. But in the end this is a big and loud adventure that might capture the love and attention of its younger audience members.