Space Jam: A New Legacy

Space Jam: A New Legacy ½

LeBron James is better than this, he can speak to many issues, can create a better opportunity for kids growing up like he did but who can't all win the basketball lottery, and is frankly funnier than this. There is a long list of reasons why the original Space Jam is a beloved classic, and part of the reasoning is that Michael Jordan didn't try to be funny. Maybe he didn't try to act either, but his role was just to show up and be part of this weird crossover movie that was an ad exec's weird, dumb idea. In this sequel to that beloved, weird, dumb idea, LeBron is constantly saying one-liners that are supposed to be funny but come across canned, while Bugs is supposed to supply the emotional stakes? What were they thinking. One of them is a literal cartoon, the other is a beloved basketball figure. Of course, there's been much digital ink spilled to the fact that Warner packed this movie to the gills with pseudo-advertisements for their various movies that are "available now to stream on HBOmax" while seemingly making the villain a anthropomorphized version of HBOmax, really not sure what they thought they were trying to say here... And HBOmax wants to put LeBron James in a bunch of movies to try and attract a new audience, so Space Jam 2 involves him being in a bunch of movies to try and attract a new audience. I paused this movie and fell asleep instead of finishing it on two different occasions, it's so- and I can't emphasize this enough- so bad. It feels like writers gave up, threw a draft in the trash, and then more writers were told to polish the trash draft, before realizing Warner Bros. was making a huge mistake and throwing it in the trash themselves, ad infinitum. How did they spend millions of dollars on this thinking it was a good idea? The only good thing I saw in this movie was LeBron James's shoes- they looked cool, but I'm not a shoe guy. The film gave me a splitting headache, and thinking about it hurts even now. There was a weird running line where it seemed like they couldn't decide how much to acknowledge the fact that Space Jam 1 happened, and then they kinda lean into it, the slugs from the first Space Jam are seen, but at that point they're using many plot points from the first to race toward an ending that makes no sense. Sonequa Martin-Green is absolutely wasted in this movie, she spends an hour of the movie's runtime just holding a child watching her husband play her son in basketball without thinking "oh, my son thinks this is a game, maybe if I can convince him that if they lose LeBron will be enslaved by Warner Bros. he'll stop fucking around." Also, the villain's name is Al G Rhythm, so, fuck this movie. Frankly, Don Cheadle was taken advantage of. What a wasted opportunity to do anything that wasn't all of this.

Maybe there didn't need to be a sequel to Space Jam. Lebron James or not.