Night At The Museum’s Shawn Levy Has A Favorite In His Trilogy, And He’s Probably Right

Ben Stiller looks up with scrutiny in Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian.
(Image credit: 20th Century Studios)

A new air of excitement has kicked up around the Night at the Museum franchise thanks to a fourth installment finally making its way to fans. Through a new movie release on Disney+, Kahmunrah Rises Again sees the baddie from the second installment, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, returning for another go at world domination. Which seems to be no accident, as director and franchise steward Shawn Levy recently named that movie as his favorite, and he’s probably right. 

Promoting the release of Night at the Museum: Kahmunrah Rises Again for Disney+, Levy took part in the press day for the next chapter in this fantasy-comedy saga. It’s the sort of thing a fan of the movies would love to be a part of, and lucky me, I was able to speak with Shawn Levy on behalf of this very occasion. 

Being a journalist, as well as a fan of the Night at the Museum movies, talking about the 2009 sequel with Levy himself was an honor that delved into what I also consider the best film in the trivia-laden Museum franchise. Not only was its connection to the fourth installment in the series important, but as Shawn Levy told CinemaBlend, he favors Battle of the Smithsonian for a couple really good reasons: 

[Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian] has two of the most … everyone has different opinions, but Battle of the Smithsonian is maybe my favorite. I mean, Amy Adams is incredible as Ameila Earhart, but there are two scenes in Battle of the Smithsonian that are like improvisation clinics, and unlike anything I’d experienced before.

First off, Amy Adams is incredible in any movie, and that’s not something that’s ever been in question. So citing her Amelia Earhart as a reason for championing Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian is a good start. However, that’s only the start to Shawn Levy’s love for Ben Stiller’s second outing as heroically funny museum guard Larry Daly. 

As mentioned above, Levy made some of his best memories in this franchise through two scenes from this Night at the Museum sequel in particular. And strangely enough, both are improvs that see Stiller’s Larry pushing his luck with two different figures of authority thanks to some very touchy matters. According to Shawn Levy, here are the two scenes where Battle of the Smithsonian truly shines: 

The first is Jonah Hill and Ben Stiller, in the Brundon scene; and the second is the Hank Azaria ‘Don’t cross that line!’ scene. Those are scenes that had like three lines on the page, but you give them to comedy assassins, and they become something that you can’t possibly anticipate. I’ll never forget how much I was crying with laughter on the set those days. But that was the beauty of those movies, it’s just stacking the deck with comedy murderers, and it made every day a treat.

This man does value his comedy assassins a lot. That mindset has seen him build his own killer stable of collaborators he frequently reunites with, as well as the work ethic that leaves him open to improv moments throughout various projects. Free Guy was a good example of that sort of magic, as a suggestion from Ryan Reynolds contributed a hysterical ad-lib that made it into the film at the eleventh hour. 

Since the director had previously shepherded an entire series of Night at the Museum films through laughter and spontaneity, it made hiring Levy to direct Deadpool 3 all the more appropriate. As two of his previous collaborators happen to be Reynolds and Real Steel’s Hugh Jackman, the stars aligning for Shawn Levy’s MCU debut put him on the path to making the best of seeing his old friends yet again. With those frenemies united on the big screen, the improv energy already feels ready to pop off once Wade and Logan hit the set. 

With a team like that, there’s a chance that the next Deadpool film could be some people’s favorite. For now though, you can catch some of Shawn Levy’s Night at the Museum movies, as well as Free Guy and the Deadpool duology, all through the magic of a Disney+ subscription. Which only makes sense, as you’re probably headed over there to watch the freshly-debuted Night at the Museum: Kahmunrah Rises Again on that same platform. 

Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

Mike Reyes is the Senior Movie Contributor at CinemaBlend, though that title’s more of a guideline really. Passionate about entertainment since grade school, the movies have always held a special place in his life, which explains his current occupation. Mike graduated from Drew University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science, but swore off of running for public office a long time ago. Mike's expertise ranges from James Bond to everything Alita, making for a brilliantly eclectic resume. He fights for the user.