Opinion is divided on Space Jam: A New Legacy, but it’s definitely leaning much more into the negative. The internet has been roasting the long-awaited sequel ever since it came to theaters and HBO Max on Friday, but an opening weekend haul of $32 million proved that there was still a whole lot of people willing to part with their hard-earned cash to go and check it out for themselves, which star LeBron James then used as ammunition against his detractors.
The first Space Jam works best when viewed through the rose-tinted glasses of nostalgia, because it’s not a great movie, either. It does boast a lot more heart than its successor, though, and is nowhere near as shameless and cynical as A New Legacy when it comes to doubling as an extended advertisement as well as a motion picture, but director Joe Pytka was not impressed.
In fact, scathing would probably be an understatement when it comes to the 82 year-old’s summation of A New Legacy, and his ire is directed to not just the concept and execution, but also the leading man. Not only did he say that it took him five sittings to get through the 115-minute film, but he threw even more shade by matter of factly stating “the truth is that LeBron ain’t Michael.”
If that still wasn’t enough, he likened Space Jam: A New Legacy to “one of those fluffy dolls you buy at an airport gift shop to bring your kid when your business trip has taken too long”, so he obviously wasn’t a fan. The first installment is hardly an all-time great work of cinema, and Pytka is obviously going to be biased having directed the thing, but a lot of fans would probably agree with his sentiments.