Samuel’s review published on Letterboxd:
Space Jam: A New Legacy is a movie about a famous basketball player who goes into a world of all the characters that Warner Brothers owns, teams up with a bunch of Looney Toons characters, and has to defeat Don Cheadle in a game of basketball. That's literally all there is to it. I obviously didn't go in expecting a five star masterpiece, I went in expecting a really dumb but enjoyable movie and that's exactly what it is.
The CGI in the film is pretty impressive when you think about the amount of detail that had to go into something as large as this. I'm assuming almost every single aspect of the actual basketball game in the server verse had to be created digitally. There were definitely some noticeable flaws/unfinished effects towards the end (with Don Cheadle's character) but overall I was still pretty impressed.
On the topic of VFX I can't really imagine how difficult it must've been for LeBron James (an athlete who's only acting in films consists mainly of just cameos) to have to act in front of a green screen for almost an entire film and with screen partners that are all added in post. His performance isn't great, he delivers comedy in a really stale and almost unfunny way. However at the end of the film there's obviously a scene where the main characters learns the lesson of the film and I thought he was able to give a fairly compelling performance in that moment.
However when it came to the voice acting everyone playing the toons were fine and sounded like the original cartoons, but Zendaya as Luna was honestly incredibly disorienting and sometimes annoying. When compared to everyone else on the team her character doesn't do anything comedic or sound silly in any way, which obviously doesn't sound like a bad thing but anytime she talks it cuts through the tone of the Loony Toons like a knife. It just feels so strange in the moment.
The movie doesn't really do anything special with the Loony Toons characters. The movie doesn't really feel like it's trying to respect these legendary cartoon characters. It feels like it's instead inventing them into new characters, at least that's what it feels like it's doing for Bugs. It doesn't really feel right, the whole ending they give Bugs and his whole arc just feels really weird when you think about the character himself. The Loony Toons are very self aware but this kinda feels like it's taking it a bit too far at points. I haven't really seen any of the cartoons in a while so maybe I don't know what I'm talking about but who knows.
The other thing I should probably talk about is the whole idea of the Warner Media server thing and all the characters it inputs into the film. I should probably admit that I honestly loved Ready Player One, and I've never had an issue with the whole flexing the brand thing with references and stuff. Again with a movie like this I don't think too hard about anything going on, so when I saw LeBron James in a Robin costume and Bugs Bunny in a Batman costume saving Daffy Duck in a Superman costume I laughed. When I saw the granny character as Trinity in The Matrix I laughed. And when I saw Wile E Coyote as one of the War Boys in Mad Max Fury Road I laughed. Sure there's definitely an argument to be made that this is just soulless corporate marketing but honestly... I don't care.
Lastly I should say that this movie would have been so bad if Don Cheadle wasn't in it. He is having the time of his life in this movie. He knows exactly what kind of movie he's in and he is giving such a fun performance throughout the entire film.
Space Jam 2 is a fun movie, that's all I expected and that's what I got. If I enjoy a movie that's what makes it good, and I definitely enjoyed this.