hen The Lego Movie hit theatres in 2014 audiences weren’t prepared for its fast paced eccentric style of comedy or its surprisingly emotional act. Three years later Warner Brothers started building the unlikely franchise of The Lego Batman Movie and The Lego Ninjago Movie; while both films have managed to maintain the same comedic style and emotional themes of the original they have also shown signs of how quickly this formula can start to wear thin. Fortunately The Lego Ninjago Movie has a different enough backdrop and story to keep it from ever becoming too familiar or boring.
Based on the Lego property of the same name and borrowing the general plot of The Ninjago TV Show the film takes place on an island city where the citizens are in constant far of the frequent takeover attempts of The Evil Lord Garmadon. The only obstacles in his way are a team of 6 young ninjas led by Garmadon nemesis the mysterious Green Ninja, little does Garmadon know that the green ninja is secretly his abandoned son Lloyd who has been a social outcast his whole life because of is fathers constant attacks.
However when Lloyd’s identity as the Green Ninja is revealed, Garmadon decides to follow his long lost son and the other young ninjas deep into the jungle surrounding Ninjago as they search for The Ultimate Weapon ending Garmadon’s reign of terror once and for all. With that premise The Lego Ninjago Movie manages to tell a more emotional story than The Lego Batman Movie, although it’s still not quite as effective and in that regard it’s the original Lego Movie and sometimes leans too heavily into corny territory with Garmadon and Lloyd’s relationship. Had the film not recovered from its clunky setup heavy first act The Lego Ninjago Movie also had probably been a major disappointing comedic route, if there is any reason to see The Lego Ninjago Movie though it’s Justin Theroux who absolutely steals the film with his performance as Garmadon, he is a comedic evil character who is both oblivious and sometimes hilariously aware of his own self destructive tendency’s. Theroux steals the title from Will Arnett’s Batman best voice Lego Movie Batman character to date and absolutely runs away with The Lego Ninjago Movie.
To their credit Charlie Bean, Paul Fisher, and Bob Logan bring the film to life with the same manic energy and Phil Lord and Christopher Miller started the franchise off with, but it’s also clear that The Lego Movies are starting to feel less fresh with each instalment and maintaining the same formula film to film may prove to be an unexpectedly negative decision for the franchise.
The Lego Ninjago Movie does continue the Lego story but it is unlikely that the franchise will be able to keep it going without finding new ways to approach its sane comedy and formulated story telling.
While The Lego Ninjago Movie does enter into overly cliché and cheese territory at times, the performance or its actors and excited attitude internal keep it from ever going stale. Like with the previous two Lego movies Ninjago manages to deliver enough intelligent and funny material to entertain both the kids it’s primarily meant for and the adults who will be coughing up the ticket money to take them to it.