‘The Lego Movie’ was a pretty special thing a couple years ago. It came out and surprised everyone with its original story, clever critique on popular culture, and iconic characters. Earlier this year, they doubled down on the formula, but added more Batman into the math. It’s was an awesome combination that gave us crazy fun all the way through. Yet, the thing that really made both films so good was the great big heart in the middle. That heart is the one big thing that ‘The Lego Ninjago Movie’ gets right.
Sadly, the heart of the movie is not the majority of the movie. Most of the first act is a ‘Power Rangers’ rip off, but with next to no character development. I can be totally honest in writing that I remember the bad guys name and the main ninja, but the rest of them totally disappeared into the background. Jackie Chan’s kung fu master is a rehash of a million others, but at least they kind of poke jokes at that cliche’. The rest of the cliche’s are just that. Where the previous ‘Lego’ movies played the cliche’s cleverly for reference, this one just comes off as cliche.
Which is too bad because the rest of this film is kind of fun and pretty sweet. As mentioned before, the plot is pretty much a rip off of the ‘Power Rangers’. A kid named Lloyd (Dave Franco) and his friends somehow have cool powers, large mechs, and dress up in ninja costumes. Perhaps they discussed how these powers came to be, but I don’t remember anything other than them finding out how to bring the powers out of them. Either way, they are ninja dressed power rangers who come out every time the evil Garmadon (Justin Theroux) comes to destroy the city of Ninjago.
The twist is that Garmadon is actually Lloyd’s father and he truthfully just wants his dad to teach him how to throw. That’s a running gag. So, an adventure to discover how to use their powers and bring family together begins. I won’t tell you what transpires, but some of it is funny, some is sweet, and some feels like exercised material. Yet, I’d say that the sweet part kind of wins out.
So, if you are a Lego fan and can deal with rolling your eyes a few times then this one is probably going to work for you. As far as kids are concerned, this will be more Lego eye candy to throw down with their soda. Which is fine in moderation. However, if you want something with a bit more nutrition then I suggest you go rent ‘The Lego Boatman Movie’.