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Space Jam A New Legacy review roundup: ‘A tired exercise in IP-driven branding’

The first reviews of Space Jam: A New Legacy have begun to trickle in. The Malcolm D. Lee directorial is a standalone sequel to the 1996 film Space Jam.

The movie follows NBA star LeBron James as he finds himself in a digital space realm called Serververse. His son is kidnapped by an algorithm. He teams up with Looney Tunes characters to defeat the algorithm’s digital basketball players.

Space Jam: A New Legacy, which counts as one of its producers Ryan Coogler, features a number of popular characters from Warner Bros-owned IPs.

The film has not pleased critics who have dismissed it as a big studio showing off the characters it owns. It has scored 31 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes.

The critical consensus reads, “Despite LeBron James’ best efforts to make a winning team out of the Tune Squad, Space Jam: A New Legacy trades the zany, meta humor of its predecessor for a shameless, tired exercise in IP-driven branding.”

Slate’s Sam Adams wrote in his review, “Corporations handing a bag of unrelated IP and ordering screenwriters to come up with a story around them is the template for most studio filmmaking now, if not all of contemporary existence.”

ABC News’ Peter Travers opined, “Critics will pick on this sequel. It’s what we do when an alleged creative enterprise turns into a corporate ad campaign. Expect no grumbles from the under-13 crowd eager to eyeball LeBron James jamming in cyberspace with cartoon royalty.”

CNN’s Brian Lowry said that even though the first film was nothing special “even by that standard, this marketing-driven exercise too often plays like the Acme version of it.”

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New York Post’s Johnny Oleksinski noted, “In the pantheon of misguided sequels and reboots, “A New Legacy” is right up there with “Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2” and “Little Fockers.”

Space Jam A New Legacy was released on July 16 in the US. There is no information about an India release yet.

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