Hot off the heels of great acclaim for The Lego Movie and Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller deliver the sequel to their equally well-received 21 Jump Street. Before even getting to the movie, I can say that you do not have to watch the first film to enjoy this one. Lord and Miller worked hard to separate this film from its predecessor. This film is completely different, and people I saw the movie with who hadn’t seen the first didn’t feel like they were missing any information in order to enjoy the film. With that said, I would recommend watching the first just because it would be difficult to enjoy as much as this film, just because it is such a better movie.
The film starts with Morton Schmidt and Greg Jenko—Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum, respectively—trying to stop a notorious drug dealer and failing spectacularly. They are then reassigned to their previous assignment, which has had its location moved across the street from its former address of 21 Jump Street to 22 Jump Street. Schmidt and Jenko’s new assignment is to blend into a college as students and stop the supply of a dangerous new drug.
Now for those who have seen the first movie, you might be thinking, “This is the same thing as the first one.” Honestly, you’re not entirely incorrect. The duo screws up, get reassigned, and then sent to a school to stop a drug ring. In fact, the police chief, played by Nick Offerman, even states that they will be doing the same thing they did before, but with a higher budget. This line vastly understates how much is different in this film. First of all: new conflicts. In the previous film, Jenko was out of place in the new high school hierarchy where the “jocks” are not necessarily in charge and Schmidt is even considered cool; however, with the huge change to college, Jenko fits in rather well with one of the fraternities on campus, leading Schmidt to be excluded and forces a different dynamic between the two protagonists. The change in setting definitely adds a fresh perspective, but the relationship between Schmidt and Jenko is where the film shines. Their partnership leads to many great scenes and interactions, much improved from the first film.
It’s sometimes hard to grade comedy because of its rather subjective nature, but as a sequel, it’s perfect. It’s different from the previous film without disregarding it entirely; it has better scenes between the two main characters, plus, an absolutely fantastic ending. Truth is, it’s an incredibly fun movie, and a great sequel. You would be hard pressed to find a more hilarious film this summer.