The Lego Ninjago Movie
Directed by Charlie Bean, Paul Fisher, and Bob Logan
Starring the voices of Dave Franco, Justin Theroux, Fred Armisen, Abbi Jacobson, Olivia Munn, Kumail Nanjiani, Michael Pena, Zack Woods, and Jackie Chan.
Ninjago is one of Lego’s more popular in-house franchises. It’s a mash-up of kung fu films, anime, and pretty much every Asian fantasy trope. Even has a very popular Saturday morning cartoon. In fact, The Lego Ninjago Movie was in development long before The Lego Movie came along. But when The Lego Movie won hearts and the box office, the creators got their marching orders: make The Lego Ninjago Movie more like The Lego Movie. And now, here it is, as the next chapter in the Lego Cinematic Universe. I was ready to give it a pass, but then there was a gag in the trailer that I thought was the best “Lego world meets real world” gag since the climax of The Lego Movie. So, I gave it a shot.
Lloyd has to have one of the most complicated backstories in these kinds of films. First, he leads a double life as the Green Ninja, leader of Ninjago and protectors of Ninjago City. But, in his civilian guise, he’s the most hated kid in town. For you see, his estranged father is Lord Garmadon, the warlord bent on conquering Ninjago City. So Lloyd is constantly blamed for his father’s attacks. One day, absolutely fed up with his father, Lloyd uses the Ultimate Weapon to destroy Garmadon once and for all. But doing so unleashes the great beast Meowthra, who begins laying waste to all the land. To stop Meowthra, Lloyd, his Ninjago Master Wu and the rest of the Ninjago ninjas, must team up with Garmadon to find the Ultimate Ultimate Weapon. On their long, perilous quest, will Lloyd and Garmadon finally reconnect as father and son? Can they find the Ultimate Ultimate Weapon and stop Meowthra?
What I Liked
OK, the gag in the trailer is that Meowthra is just a regular house cat who wanders around knocking over the Lego buildings. It’s hilarious. And a lot of the father/son stuff between Lloyd and Garmadon does have a lot of genuine heart behind it. And it’s nice to hear Jackie Chan cracking wise and wisecracking as Master Wu.
What I Didn’t Like
Well, this is a lot more plot and character based than the other Lego movies, and therefore, not as many jokes. It would have been nice to have gotten to know the other Ninjago ninjas (one is apparently an android…what’s that about?), but they’re just kinda there. And it probably breaks Rogue One‘s record for “most cool stuff in the trailers that didn’t make it to the final film.”
An OK action/adventure film, but just not as satisfying as the other two Lego movies.