By Ryan Diminick
In today’s cinema world, it’s easy to notice the rising number of sequels and franchises dominating theaters. In the horror genre, there’s the Paranormal Activity series, known for its annual installments. Then there is the Marvel Cinematic Universe, an expansive franchise composed of separate, yet interconnected, film series.
Though it may seem that action and science fiction seem to be the genres that dominate franchises today, the comedy series continues to exist. Released on June 13, 22 Jump Street already has proven to be a worthy successor to its 2012 predecessor 21 Jump Street. Grossing around $60 million in its opening weekend, 22 Jump Street has proven to be a box office success.
It’s easy to see why the film has been a success. Picking up where 21 Jump Street left off, this new film brings back the comedic duo of Officers Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum), who are tasked with a new case involving a new popular drug, “WHYPHY” (pronounced as Wifi), at a local university. Also returning is Captain Dickson (Ice Cube), who takes on a bigger role this time around.
The film is a comedic powerhouse from start to finish. While it may contain the same style of antics as seen in the original, such as the partners getting high on the powerful drug central to the story, the film adds new bits that help to make it shine. The relationship between Schmidt and Jenko takes the form of a subplot centered on the “bromantic” nature of their partnership, an arc that has a nice payoff in the end.
One of the many appeals of the film is its self-deprecating nature toward its role as a sequel. Most sequels in cinema history are known to be simple rehashes of the original, yet with new faces. 22 Jump Street acknowledges this through several bits of dialogue throughout. By constantly referencing how the new case is “the same as last time,” the film pokes fun at one of the most common tropes of the typical sequel.
Out of the numerous funny moments in the film, nothing stands out more than the end-credits sequence. By showing a series of fake trailers for an extensive “Jump Street” franchise, including future films, action figures and video games, the film pokes even more fun at the nature of franchises today. Although the sequence itself may deflate hope for any future entries in the series, if today’s pop culture has proven anything, we won’t be seeing the last of Hill’s and Tatum’s lovable characters.
In the competitive world of movie sequels, this one definitely stands out. Highly recommended.