A rogue A.I. kidnaps LeBron James's son, and will only return him if
LeBron and the Looney Tunes can defeat him in a basketball game.
Space Jam: A New Legacy (2021)
Directed by Malcolm D. Lee
Written by Juel Taylor, Tony Rettenmaier, Keenan Coogler,
Terence Nance, Jesse Gordon, Celeste Ballard
Starring LeBron James, Don Cheadle, Cedric Joe, Sonequa
Martin-Green, Khris Davis, Jeff Bergman, Zendaya,
Eric Bauza, Candi Milo, Bob Bergen, Gabriel Iglesias
Sequel to 1996's Space Jam
I don’t remember the last movie where I actively started to root for its failure. Even the worst movie I hope finds an audience somewhere. Not the case with this new Space Jam film, though. From the moment the cast and crew were being put together through the marketing, I was against this. There was the hiring of a director who couldn’t be bothered to watch the original film until 2019. Then there was the ever increasingly clear movement from the studio to make this more of a LeBron James vehicle by utilizing a beloved property instead of a proper sequel. The final nail in the coffin was the continued need from the filmmakers and stars to put down the original and talk about how they fixed this new one in an attempt to appease the SJW types. Notice there was zero mention of anyone trying to make a sequel which honors the original and moves the story forward.
This is, hands down, one of the worst sequels and films I’ve seen in recent memory. There is zero attempt made to make something which, again, honors original film and its fans. Instead, this is clearly a movie only made to set up a dumb Warner Bros. universe and give James a movie. All while utilizing the title to lure audiences to the theater. Problem is, who is this for? There was so much made about a certain cartoon skunk being removed due to what he supposedly depicts, but this film is filled with characters and movie cameos which are clearly only meant for adults. The kids in the audience won’t get them. Thinking of the cartoon characters, this film actively goes out of its way to sideline the Toons. You know, the characters people actually want to see. Not only do they seem secondary in their own movie, but they change their cartoon style into ugly 3D animation. For those hoping for this being a true sequel still with cameos from the original cast, hold your breath. This is a standalone film which only does obligatory feeling cameos and references. The only good thing I have to say is Don Cheadle actually seems to be trying.
To put it bluntly, this is a shit film. It spits in the face of the fans to give a film more focused more on trying to be politically correct and rip off better films than to be a sequel which complements what came before. The only good person in this, Don Cheadle, deserves so much better. This is clearly a LeBron James vanity project with zero interest in the original and its fans. Michael Jordan is better and always will be. Fuck this movie.
Never in a million years did I think the Space Jam sequel, which had been stuck in development hell for over two decades, would materialize into an actual film. But here we are, with two Space Jam films, only this new one is more of a Ready Player One rip-off than anything else. Behold, every character and property that Warner Bros. owns or rents. We've got Batman, Harry Potter, The Mask, It, King Kong, The Matrix, even Rick and Morty, and A Clockwork fucking Orange. Also, if you look very hard (Don't blink, you'll miss it), there's the Looney Tunes hidden in a giant steaming pile of corporate trademarks. Oh, and LeBron James is here, because he's arguably the most famous basketball player in the world today.
Turns out, movie LeBron is a bad father who (shockingly) wants his kids to love basketball as much as he does. But when his son Dom (Joe) loves creating videogames, LeBron puts the foot down. One day, while listening to a pitch at Warner Bros, LeBron accidentally pisses off an A.I. named Al G. Rhythm (Get it?), played to hammy perfection by the great Don Cheadle. So, Al G. kidnaps Dom and forces LeBron into a basketball game for his life. Naturally, LeBron turns to Bugs Bunny for help, and the Tune Squad is reassembled. Space Jam 2's biggest sin is how badly it tries to trick audiences into thinking it's a good movie. And it does this with cameos, which are aplenty. The only one I liked was the Michael Jordan gag they did, which was smart and funny.
Overall, Space Jam 2 is a shameless predictable cash grab that will never hold a candle to the lightning in a bottle that was the original movie. Something like this could only work in the 90's with Jordan, the Tunes, Moron Mountain, the Mon-Stars, Danny DeVito, Wayne Knight, and Bill Murray. LeBron ain't no Jordan; we all know that. And this film is an embarrassment to the Looney Tunes, to basketball, and to anyone who has ever loved both.