Space Jam: A New Legacy (2021)

Space Jam: A New Legacy (2021) Cover

Space Jam: A New Legacy is directed by Malcom D. Lee, who most recently worked on Night School with Kevin Hart. Lee is not aiming to win an Oscar for his direction, screenplay, or performances; but, instead, is looking to create a family friendly film with a positive message for kids, which is what this film is. Although the film is not a critical success (31% on Rotten Tomatoes) and lacks a compelling execution, it is an average film that families with younger children might have a decent time with.

Lebron James wants his son Dom (Cedric Joe) to go to Basketball camp, while his son is more interested in going to a camp for Video Game design. Don Cheadle plays an artificial intelligence inside of Warner's Serververse and kidnaps Dom, persuading him to use his game design skills to prepare characters with insanely good stats to play basketball alongside them. The only way Lebron can get back his son is to defeat Cheadle and his team in a game of basketball. Looney Toons are recruited. 

The plot setup is incredibly convoluted but how else were you going to get literal loonies and Lebron James on a team in a high stakes basketball game? Whereas any normal person would be freaking out over being warped inside the computer, Lebron and Cedric’s wooden performances barely feel enthralled by the fact that they are inside the server. Six writers are credited (Juel Taylor, Tony Rettenmaier, Keenan Coogler, Terence Nance, Jesse Gordon, and Celeste Ballard) and could be a reason why the film feels overly contrived.

They’re aspects of this movie that kids will latch on to; wanting to see Dom get the approval from his dad to follow his dreams, bombastic Looney Toon Characters, cameos from their favorite Warner characters (Harry Potter, Rick and Morty, Game of Thrones, Mad Max, and more are all featured) and the silly jokes. While humor is certainly corny, there is some clever humor sprinkled throughout the 1 hour and 55 minute duration.

The primary message of the film for kids is to be who you are. For parents/adults, the message is to let your child / others pursue their dreams and not force your dreams on to them. The theme is one we’ve all seen before but certainly not executed in this way. Only Space Jam is going to have cartoons alongside a famous basketball player playing a game of basketball. Unfortunatley, it all feels incredibly forced.

The actual basketball game is so cringy. Don Cheadle, Dom, and their team use cheap unrealistic tricks Dom designed (such as jumping high) to take the lead at the basketball game. Lebron sticks to his moral of playing a fair game of basketball, not allowing the Looney Toons to play their crazy way. This does not ring true at all: Your son is at stake and you’re going to care about playing fair when the opposing team is playing outrageous?! It takes two quarters until James reluctantly / hesitantly allows the Toons to play their way and you’ll never begin to guess the outcome...

Space Jam: A New Legacy won’t be leaving behind a legacy, like its predecessor, but is a fair time at the movies for younger audiences. Additionally, the zany fast paced unbelievable plot is outlandish enough to hold your attention throughout the run time.


Final Verdict:Space Jam: A New Legacy won’t be leaving behind a legacy, like its predecessor, but is a fair time at the movies for younger audiences.