Movie Review - The Lego Ninjago Movie


Anyone that has followed the Lego franchise, is well aware of how far the children's building blocks have come. Since licensing movies to be retold as Lego adventure games, the movie franchise was inevitable. There have already been games of Lego Star Wars, Harry Potter, Indiana Jones and The Avengers, which I am hopeful for all to make it to the big screen. Following the best Batman story since the Dark Knight (2008) in last Spring's Lego Batman; our third movie of the Lego Cinematic Universe is, The Lego Ninjago Movie.

Based on the popular Cartoon Network show of the same name, Ninjago follows 6 teens, who live fairly normal high school lives but, when called into action, led by the guidance of Master Wu (Jackie Chan) the warriors of Ninjago protect the island city-state from the evil Garmadon. His island volcanic lair sits just offshore from the Japanese inspired metropolis of Ninjago. Garmadon is defeated countless times but, but Lloyd, the Green Ninja (Dave Franco), there's a deeper issue at play. The evil Garmadon is Lloyd's father and the whole town knows. Tired of being alienated by the town, Lloyd tries to finish Garmadon off, once and for all by using the Ultimate Weapon. Unfortunately, the plan backfires leaving the city of Ninjago in peril.

The Lego Ninjago Movie starts off strong, hitting hard with a deluge of quips, one liners and sight gags. But, after the rousing first act, the film slows down...a lot. Though it never runs out of gas, The Lego Ninjago Movie isn't balanced, possibly due to the six man screenwriting team. Two of the six a co-directors with a third person. Creating a singular vision and bringing that to life on the big screen is enough of a challenge, doing it with six writers and 3 directors usually leads to a disjointed albeit fun overall movie.

Three movies in, with two more scheduled for 2019; The Lego movie franchise seems to have hit a wall. Sure, kids will love the colorful Lego worlds and dizzying action but, the stories need to be as well thought out as the multi-layered action scenes. With The Lego Movie (2014), the seemingly impossible came to life. In three short years the animation has improved, leaving subsequent films as less of a marvel. There's still room for improvement in the Lego Cinematic Universe, but I hope the franchise can begin reinventing itself before it grows passe.

Verdict: C+

Rated: PG @ 101 Mins

NOTE: In 3D and IMAX 3D where available

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