After the release of "The Lego Batman Movie", I got pretty excited for the upcoming spinoff "The Lego Ninjago Movie." In fact, I was so excited I decided to only watch the first trailer of the movie and went into the movie very excited. Walking out, I was extremely frustrated and pretty disappointed. I really hate to say this, but I have to. "The Lego Ninjago Movie" sucks. I'm so sorry. If you were excited to see a new exciting Lego movie, you're going to be pretty disappointed. I surely was.
The film opens up in live action where we see a little boy run into a relic shop where he meets the owner (Jackie Chan) who decides to tell him a fabled story about the world of Ninjago. Ninjago is a city which is always under attack by the evil Lord Garmadon (Justin Theroux). However, the city is defended by a team of ninjas led the Green Ninja, whose alias is actual Lloyd Garmadon (Dave Franco) which makes him the evil lord's son, something that Lord Garmadon doesn't know. The ninjas are trained by Lloyd's uncle, Master Wu (also Chan) who tells them that each has a powerful element inside them. I'll explain what that means a little later. One day though, Garmadon attacks the city again with an indestructible mech. Lloyd then decides to reveal his identity to him and also unleash the ultimate weapon (which is really a light pointer) which accidentally leads the evil monster Meowthra (which is really a cat) to attack the city. Feeling the ninjas are ready to be properly trained, Wu decides to lead them to find the ultimate weapon to defeat the Meowthra. The search goes to a brief halt though when Garmadon follows them and defeats Wu. The ninjas then decide to trust Garmadon with their training and then predictable hijinks ensue.
Where the first Lego Movie mocked cliches, Lego Ninjago decided to embrace them. The movie is very predictable and is also not very funny since most of the good jokes in the movie were sadly given away in the first trailer and some of the running gags got old very fast. In fact, the movie is nothing like I imagined. I imagined the movie was a film that parodies martial arts movie and focuses on the kids becoming the ninjas, but nope. Instead, they're already ninjas and the story is more of a father-son bonding movie, something that has been milked to death. The story also rips off elements from animated movies. The ninja team has six members and also has a robot one that wears white, just like in "Big Hero 6" with the superhero team and the character of Baymax. The elements I mentioned earlier are ripped off from the show "Avatar: The Last Airbender" as the students can control elements like fire, water, and earth. While the animation is very good, it doesn't feel like a Lego Movie. The reason why is because some elements look real. Keep in mind that the animation first two Lego Movies made sure that everything looks like Legos. However in this movie, the clouds, water, sand, rocks, and plants in the movie look like they were from another animated movie with the only elements looking like they were from a Lego movie being the buildings and minifigures. Another thing about the animation is that it was clearly meant for a 3D viewing. Watching the film in 2D, I noticed that some elements left off the borders of the screen which made it very distracting and took me out of the experience. As for the characters, their not very interesting. They feel like cutouts that we've seen in other animated movies which make the emotional moments in the movie fail. The emotional backstory of the villain apart from making no sense also doesn't feel earned compared to the emotional moments in the first movie and Lego Batman. Even the ending felt pretty rushed and left many plot threads still up in the air.
"The Lego Ninjago Movie" was pretty disappointing. I really wanted to love this movie, and I ended up not. Where "The Lego Movie" and "The Lego Batman Movie" were for everybody, this movie, in my opinion, is only just for kids. For a kids movie, it's harmless. As a Lego Movie though, it's very disappointing and pretty bad. I really hope that the official sequel to "The Lego Movie" will be good because I'm getting a little nervous about where the series is going from here.