22 Jump Street is that rare sequel that manages to build on everything from the previous surprise hit, 21 Jump Street and then become an even better film. 22 Jump Street is not only the best movie of 2014 so far, but it’s also the first comedy sequel to succeed in being better than the original film, which was an achievement of its own at the time of its initial release. 22 Jump Street is absolutely hilarious, while also being more clever than before and a generally interesting film about growing relationships and struggles that come with them. Directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller have outdone themselves yet again, creating a film that’s hyper, insane and downright impressive. These guys are legends.
Jenko (Channing Tatum) and Schmidt (Jonah Hill) are back in undercover student mode as their boss Captain Dickson (Ice Cube) sends them to college to locate the dealer of a deadly new drug and shut them down for good. Their mission sounds exactly like their last one, but only this time they face it with a tired set of eyes, having their own relationship tested as they both continue to grow and expand into new individuals.
22 Jump Street is a direct sequel to 21 Jump Street in every single way. The story is almost exactly the same, only slightly altered to warrant existence, yet directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller have done something incredibly smart while approaching the sequel; they’ve become fully aware of the fact that almost all sequels are pointless attempts at extra cash, with studios doubling the budget in hopes of doubling the profits, yet rarely do sequels have a soulful purpose of existence.
Only Lord and Miller do this with a certain level of sophistication that makes them become truly great filmmakers and two individuals that should never be underestimated when it comes to creating films that are truly unique and exciting and filled from top to bottom with their trademark energy and all-over-the-place filmmaking style that works extremely well in the realms of R-rated comedy.
Seriously, these guys exceeded any and all expectations that were set with 21 Jump Street, a movie that nobody really wanted to see or care about in the first place and yet they’ve managed to come back and build on all of that comedic gold to make something that’s honestly better.
22 Jump Street works so well because it feels familiar and like a carbon copy of the original film, while also feeling like an entirely new beast, full of new jokes and gags and sequences that again prove just how visually talented Lord and Miller are at constructing a film that’s appealing to all of the senses. 22 Jump Street isn’t just funny because of its script or its excellent stars, but also because of its directors and their ability to bring everyone and everything together to ensure a film that always feels funny, yet isn’t afraid to tackle serious subject matter through such a light and easy-going lens.
On a more serious level, 22 deals with the core heart of friendship and how all relationships need space to expand and grow and yet still come back together. The characters of Jenko and Schmidt are at a crossroad where both men enjoy being with each other, because they’re not just work partners, but best friends, but that also means that both have their own wants and needs separately and the film is very much a testing of how strong their bond really is and if the two men can exist better without each other.
Lord and Miller tackle this with comedy, but if you strip it down you might find a lot of truth in the “romance” created and poked at here. Lord and Miller do it in a joking manner, but that doesn’t make the actual material a joke itself and instead just one way to digest it.
Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum and Ice Cube all bring an elevated level of dedication to their performances, with each man furthering not only their own character, but also the level of comedy and detail associated with that. Hill’s Schmidt is still that insecure and sometimes clingy best friend that most of all just wants to do good by everyone around him. Hill brings his usual weirdness to the role and actually plays with a bit of restraint when called for.
Tatum continues to rise as a comedic star, with his improv delivery shining as one of the film’s best kept secrets. But really, Ice Cube is the breakout star here, with a role that’s much deeper than his previous involvement with the first film, mostly due to a few plot points that require his hot head to make more than one appearance.
Seriously, 22 Jump Street is a miracle. Never before has there been a sequel, let alone a comedy sequel that’s gone above and beyond all expectations set before it. Directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller have proved yet again that they should never be overlooked or underestimated when it comes to making films, because they’ve yet to disappoint. 2014’s best movie up until this point was their very own The LEGO Movie, which again was a movie that took its preset expectations and flipped them on themselves and now 22 Jump Street destroys all of the notions set that say that sequels are always garbage or never as good as the first film.
22 Jump Street is just as good as 21 Jump Street. Actually, it’s better. It moves quicker, contains even more laughs and also furthers the story between Jenko and Schmidt, while not once dropping the ball or feeling like a compete repeat of 21 Jump Street. 22 Jump Street is the most fun that you’re going to find at your local movie theater right now and probably for the rest of the year. It’s a complete riot and a high mark for comedies and more specifically comedy sequels.
22 Jump Street – 9.5/10