Space Jam: A New Legacy
By Tara McNamara,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
LeBron's Looney Tunes reboot fouls; lots of 'toon violence.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Your success comes from being yourself. To be great, you've got to put in the work. Teamwork matters. Parents should support their children in exploring their own interests.
Positive Role Models
James is already known as a real-life role model as both an athlete and philanthropist; here, we see him as a loving and caring father who's willing to grow and learn. Live-action characters offer positive Black representations.
Violence & Scariness
Cartoon/slapstick violence without injury: Characters get hit by heavy objects and are blown up, smacked, shocked, etc. Yosemite Sam shoots his pistols at an inanimate object; Marvin the Martian shoots his ray gun. Villain displays mean behavior and holds a child hostage, although the child isn't completely aware that he's being kept away from his family and doesn't perceive that he's in danger. Characters in peril. Goon Squad are humans turned into animated monsters whose bodies and voices are distorted; they may be scary for very young children. Hostile conversation/threats.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
A couple of uses of "hell" and an instance of bleeping out a lengthy part of a sentence for comedic effect (the intended foul language is indiscernible). Insulting language includes "dum-dums." Hostile conversation with threats.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
The film is a showcase for Warner Brothers' entertainment catalog. James' longtime sponsor Nike is featured prominently. Red Vines seen. Luxury houses and goods and devices.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Scene in a saloon shows Bugs Bunny drinking carrot juice and acting drunk for the duration of one sentence. Animated character is seen drinking martinis and is called out for doing it frequently.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Space Jam: A New Legacy is the sequel to the 1990s favorite Space Jam. Like its predecessor, it's a mix of live action and animation ending in an epic game of basketball. It brings back favorite Looney Tunes characters while offering a refresh by casting basketball legend LeBron James as the star. There's some peril/danger: A villain abducts a father and son and then separates them, holding the son for a sort of ransom. And there's plenty of cartoon/slapstick violence in keeping with what we've come to expect from Bugs Bunny and friends: Wile E. Coyote blows things up, Marvin the Martian shoots his ray gun, Yosemite Sam fires pistols. Everyone else suffers smacks in the head, but the worst consequence is seeing birds flying around their head. The nasty Goon Squad is made up of real-life basketball players who've become animated monsters (including a slithering snake); they may be scary to very young children. It's briefly suggested that a couple of animated characters are drinking and have had too much. There are clear messages about teamwork, the need for parents to support their children in exploring their own interests, and the idea that success comes from being yourself.
To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Where to Watch
Videos and Photos
Space Jam: A New Legacy
Based on 37 parent reviews
WTH Warner Bro’s!! Droog’s, Pennywise and The Devil’s??
Report this review
Report this review
What's the Story?
In SPACE JAM 2: A NEW LEGACY, NBA icon LeBron James angers Warner Brothers' artificial intelligence avatar Al G. Rhythm (voiced by Don Cheadle). The cyberbot exacts his revenge by sucking LeBron and his 12-year-old son, Dom (Cedric Joe), into the WB Serververse. Their only way to escape is by leading the Looney Tunes gang to win an online basketball game.
Is It Any Good?
The idea of relaunching the beloved Space Jam with Michael Jordan's modern-day equivalent was a slam dunk, but the execution is messier than a first grader's March Madness bracket. Certainly, there's a lot of fun to be had here by putting the Looney Tunes gang back into uniform -- the problem is that expectations are insurmountable. Space Jam was lightning in a bottle: It had a theme song for the ages (which many '90s kids still consider their personal anthem), a star who was at a particularly unique time in his personal and professional life, and writers who'd penned notable family comedies and grew up with Bugs Bunny and pals. Unfortunately, this film is more like a jug of rain, lacking both comedy and chemistry.
The movie's laugh-out-loud moments are few and far between. It could be that the trio of young credited screenwriters have little or no experience in writing comedy or writing for kids; it feels like they did a quick study of Looney Tunes rather than growing up with the characters. And while director Malcolm D. Lee knows his way around raunchy adult comedy (Girls Trip, The Best Man), this is his first effort with CGI and animated characters and his first time creating entertainment for children. The result is that, unlike with MJ and the original Space Jam team, who showed their love by besting each other and delivered zingers at every turn, A New Legacy is rather flat -- even after the Tune Squad is transformed into 3D animation (incidentally, why?). Cheadle is a wonderful actor whose humor crackles, but he's certainly no Bill Murray. And where are the equivalents to Larry Bird and Patrick Ewing? The film has the wackiest of wacky premises and yet it's predictable -- and, for fans of the original, a disappointment. Kids who are less familiar with Looney Tunes may be a little lost. Of course, perhaps the idea is to convey to kids that you can now see the classic cartoon series on HBO Max (now with new episodes!). And they're not the only Warner characters who make an appearance: The Serververse brings audiences through the full range of the Time Warner catalog, from Harry Potter to not-so-kid-appropriate Game of Thrones, with characters cheering on the high-stakes basketball game. While it's fun to spot them in the crowd, rather than racking up points for the Tune Squad, it seems like they're there to rack up subscriptions for HBO Max. Unlike the original, which was made as a celebration and union of great entertainers that appeal to kids, this entire endeavor feels a lot more like a commercial.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about how Looney Tunes characters compare to modern cartoon characters. How have certain elements been toned down over the decades?
Do you feel that cartoon violence is problematic? What's the impact of media violence on kids?
Why do you think this film was rebooted? The first one had a lot of product placement. Did you see anything in this go-round that you felt was being endorsed? Does seeing a product in a movie make you more likely to want to use it?
How can families balance allowing kids to pursue their own interests (like video games) with activities parents feel are good for them (like sports or creative or academic endeavors)?
- In theaters: July 16, 2021
- On DVD or streaming: July 16, 2021
- Cast: LeBron James, Zendaya, Sonequa Martin-Green, Jim Cummings
- Director: Malcolm D. Lee
- Inclusion Information: Black directors, Black actors
- Studio: Warner Bros.
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Sports and Martial Arts, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Run time: 115 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: some cartoon violence and some language
- Last updated: April 2, 2023
Inclusion information powered by
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
Suggest an Update
Where to Watch
Our Editors Recommend
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate