Follow TV Tropes
There's a great tradition of Warner Bros making awful crossovers: Daffy Duck and Porky Pig meet the Groovie Goolies, Justice League 2017 and Tom & Jerry: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory immediately come to mind. Now a new addition has arrived. One which makes Pinky, Elmyra and the Brain feel like Citizen Kane by comparison.
As I sat through this movie, I could actually imagine the meetings made at Warner Bros Studios which spawned its creation. They paid close attention to how Disney raked in the cash with Ralph Breaks the Internet and how the Avengers movies make millions just by existing. If Disney could do it, so could they.
Unfortunately, while Disney is shallow, greedy and insincere, Warner Bros is lazy and half baked. And no other product displays this fact like Space Jam: A New Legacy. The sequel to the atrocious advertisement from 1996 isn’t a movie. It’s haphazard, frenzied, unfunny and, at the end of the day, filling a corporate quota.
Bright colours and glitzy fanservice have been engineered specifically to pander to nostalgia and burn a hole in people’s wallets. LeBron and the Looney Tunes fart around in various Warner Bros franchises so that YouTube nerds can upload their “Spot the Character” videos. It’s a shamelessly cold and calculating project almost reminiscent of parents who spoil their children and mistake it for love.
Space Jam: A New Legacy wants to copy the success of all the big crossover ensemble movies while cutting corners. Who needs a story and an honest effort when you can create the illusion of a bigger world by name dropping and shoehorning characters from your library? How about having your characters rapping, mentioning social media and internet memes?
At the end of the day, once you look past the world building and scenes of Clark Kent watching a runaway train or King Kong fistbumping the Iron Giant, it’s heartbreaking.
It’s evident that Warner Bros has little to no confidence in Looney Tunes ever since Back in Action failed to make money. This movie stems from the belief that a Looney Tunes movie, that doesn’t shoehorn celebrities and characters from other properties, will be automatically terrible.
In time, Warner Bros will rename it “The HBO Max Movie”. Or perhaps even “The Movie That Reminds You of More Superior Movies”. Because that’s what it is.
This movie is despicable.
Now I was never into the original ‘’Space Jam’’; I didn’t grow up with it, so I never really developed the nostalgic connection I know a lot of other people did. So I wasn’t especially thrilled when I saw the trailer, and didn't really intend on seeing it when it came out. But I saw how much people on the internet were savaging it, and I found myself deciding to look at it myself, to see if it was worth all that contempt. In the end, I say it isn't, but I also don't contend it to be a good movie.
There is certainly some good in this movie. The direction of this movie is good, with scenes being allowed to play out, and there isn’t a sense that the actors didn’t have any direction at all. On that note, the acting in this isn’t bad either, especially from the Toons, and even from Lebron James himself; he’s got a sense of comedic timing, and he can do the emotional scenes alright. I’d also be lying if I said that there weren’t some scenes that did actually make me laugh, so I’d say there is talent here. But, in the end, it’s all brought down by a simple issue: the writing.
The ultimate problem with this movie, is that instead of being self-referential and satirical (which Looney Tunes always excelled at best), it instead ends up being self-promoting; so many scenes seem to be WB saying “Yeah, we did ‘’that’’ too! Watch more of our stuff!” If the movie had a more self-aware, maybe cynical attitude, I think it could’ve been a lot funnier, and I don’t know if it was too many hands in the pot (this movie had ‘’six’’ writers), or if WB wasn’t willing to let itself get made fun of. A few of the references aren’t bad, and I’ll admit I chuckled at a few cameos, but considering what could've been, it's hard not to feel a little disappointed. The story is also very by the numbers, and the moment we see Lebron and his son, I knew almost everything that was going to happen.
I guess, in the end, this movie is just kind of unimpressive to me. It had some laughs, good ones actually, but the story and tone just didn’t really do much.
So much to unpack about this fun but frustrating exercise in crass commercialism. My verdict is "more good than bad, but very, very mixed."
So is New Legacy a good movie? Sometimes. Parts of it even improve on the first film. However, the critics are right about this film's sheer bloated excess. It throws (almost literally) everything at the screen, and some of it sticks, but too much of it is just "Hey, look at all these Warner properties! Oh, and there's a story in here somewhere..." It's still worth seeing, but if there's a Space Jam 3 (which I would actually welcome), WB should forget about doing a massive corporate promo and put the story and characters first.
Or just have Lola kick everybody's ass. That would work too.
Community Showcase More