CinemaBlend participates in affiliate programs with various companies. We may earn a commission when you click on or make purchases via links.
Space Jam: A New Legacy, likely better known to old school heads as just Space Jam 2, is … well … it’s not great. I’ll just leave it at that. I watched it with my kids over the weekend, and the general consensus in the Knight household was that it could have been a lot better. Or, as my daughter put it, “I liked the first one more.” Now, that’s not to say that it was a complete bomb in my house. There are actually a few things that my kids really liked about the movie. In fact, they wanted to watch it a second time, and I was the one who was like, “Hey, can we watch something else instead?”
Selfish? Sure, but as somebody who grew up with the original Space Jam, the sequel left much to be desired. Which is strange, since this movie, while definitely for kids, pandered to the older crowd hard. I mean, I never thought I would see a blatant reference to Mad Max: Fury Road in a kid’s movie, but well, Space Jam 2 has changed the game, I suppose. Enough about me. What did my kids like and dislike about the movie? Well, you’re about to find out.
Oh, and minor spoilers up ahead.
Loved: Bugs Bunny And Lola Bunny
When the movie ended, I asked my daughter, point blank, what she thought about the film, and she said that she liked it. Now, I know for a fact that this isn’t true because she spent around the first 50 minutes or so playing with her toys while my son rolled around on the ground doing mixed martial arts to invisible dinosaurs. But, by the end, it apparently picked up, and my daughter whispered in my ear that she had a crush on Bugs Bunny and that she wanted to go on a lunch date with Lola. So, I guess Bugs and Lola were a big hit with my daughter. My son just said that he liked the part where they played basketball. Deep.
When Lola Bunny (voiced by Zendaya) first showed up in the film in a parody (homage?) to Wonder Woman 1984, my daughter immediately put down her toy and took notice. Whenever Lola Bunny was gone, my daughter would go back to playing with her toys. And, whenever Lola and Bugs were together on screen, well, my daughter would straight up blush. I took notes, you see, and quietly reminisced over a time when my daughter didn’t get butterflies in her stomach over two cartoon rabbits.
Didn’t Like: The Film Took Too Long To Get To The Actual Looney Tunes
I wasn’t keeping track of time, but this movie takes WAY too long to get to the Looney Tunes characters. We first see LeBron getting chewed out as a kid by his dad for playing with his friend’s Gameboy rather than focusing on basketball. We then see what that’s done to him as a parent when it comes to his own children. That’s followed by him learning about different properties that he could potentially be put into. Then we get Don Cheadle’s introduction as the villain, and man, my kids completely checked out by that point. Like, “When is this going to be over?” checked out.
In fact, my son, as a joke, kept screaming “Where’s the bunny, Papa?” over and over again in my ear with the volume intensifying each time. “Where’s the bunny, Papa? Where’s the bunny, Papa?! WHERE’S THE BUNNY, PAPA?!” By the time “the bunny” actually showed up, my son was already telling invisible dinosaurs that they were no match for him, and I was watching Space Jam: A New Legacy all by myself. At least, of course, until the film got to the eventual basketball game. And, about that …
Loved: The Goon Squad
My kids really loved the Goon Squad, who are this movie’s version of The Monstars. This time around, all of the members on the bad team are unique, which is really cool. You have a character who can slow down and speed up time, aptly named Chronos. You have a snake called White Mamba. You have a spider baller named Arachnneka. You have a player who’s both wet and hot called Wet-Fire, and a bird-like player with a unibrow called, er...The Brow.
My son especially loved these characters. He never really cared much for the Looney Tunes characters since I don’t really show my son Looney Tunes that much. It’s not that I have anything against them, as I’ve played him YouTube clips of my favorite character, Foghorn Leghorn (“I say, I say, I say…”). But, he just doesn’t really connect with the Looney Tunes. That said, he was really into the Goon Squad and their brand of basketball. So much so, in fact, that he was upset when they lost. When they did, he said that the movie was the “S” word. Which is what he literally said. “This movie is the S word.” But, not that “S” word. The other one: stupid. We don’t use that word in my household. It’s not nice.
Didn’t Like: All The Dated References
Hoo, boy. The year is 2021, and Space Jam: A New Legacy just referenced The Matrix. Multiple times. Yes, I know there is a new Matrix coming out, and yes, I know a lot of this movie is just a commercial for other movies, but Lord have mercy, I couldn’t believe all the references to movies only adults would get that made it into this flick. It genuinely boggled my mind. My kids were like, “What’s this from, Papa?” since I’m always telling them when their favorite cartoons are making references to classic movies. I found that I had to literally stop this film multiple times and give them visual references since it was really bugging me that they kept asking me what this or that was from.
I mean, Mad Max: Fury Road, Austin Powers, Casablanca, it just didn’t make any sense after a while. Why are these films being referenced in a kid’s movie? When it got to the big game and there were background characters like Mr. Freeze, and even the Droogs from A Clockwork Orange for crying out loud, my kids’ eyes started to glaze over. The only problem was that I wasn’t impressed, either. It just seems like a bit of a waste, if you ask me. If you ask my kids, as well.
Loved: The Video Game Aesthetic
Last but not least, my son loved the overall video game aesthetic of the world presented in this film. Unlike the first movie, which really was about space, this one is more about algorithms, and shared universes, so it takes on more of a Wreck-It-Ralph Breaks the Internet approach where this is all taking place within a mainframe. A major component of this story is that LeBron’s son is more into video games than basketball, and he’s created the game that the characters are playing in.
And, this world is really cool. There are powerups, and extra points, and it really does feel like a video game, which my son definitely appreciated. He actually asked me if this was a real video game, and I had to sadly tell him that it wasn’t. It upset him, sure, but he really loved that part of the film. It was perhaps the only part of the film that he enjoyed, actually.