The LEGO Ninjago Movie is the second major outing for LEGO this year and while it may seem like a heinous cash grab for those not familiar with the franchise, you won’t be completely lost if you’ve never seen an episode on the brick warriors on Cartoon Network. Other than the ability to sell more toys, one has to wonder how this movie made it past the conceptual phase.
The LEGO Ninjago Movie centres around the city of Ninjago, which is constantly under threat from Garmadon (voiced by Justin Theroux). As in most LEGO movies, there is always a hero at the ready to save the day. There are six, in this case, lead by Lloyd (because Lloyd just screams hero). Unfortunately, Lloyd is also the son of absentee father and supervillain, which everyone is aware of and treats Lloyd accordingly. He is not completely ostracised, as he has a group of friends which also double as the crime-fighting ninjas (the main threat to Garmadon’s plans). The group are under the tutelage of Master Wu (Jackie Chan), brother to Garmadon.
As far as LEGO movies go, Ninjago is quite tame and light on story and humour, which was disappointing because the main source of entertainment is the humour. It’s more geared towards a younger audience, although there are some adult-like themes scattered throughout (have fun explaining those). Since it’s inevitable that the comparisons will be drawn to their previous movies, this one isn’t original at all. Some of the jokes fall flat, only mustering a chuckle. The ninja crew doesn’t add much to the storyline and the movie, which would’ve been exactly the same if they weren’t there. Jackie Chan, or Master Wu, felt like he was added as an afterthought to placate parents and try to keep them entertained with a bit of nostalgia. It was hard to escape the fact that the movie rests completely on the talents of Garmadon (Justin Theroux) and Lloyd (Dave Franco).
If you’re a child at heart and don’t mind a cinema filled with kids laughing at every comment made by Garmadonor then The LEGO Ninjago Movie is a good family afternoon movie. If you’d rather not subject yourself to this, wait for the DVD release where you can scroll through your phone in peace while your mind wonders and your kids are entertained.