MOVIE REVIEW – ‘The Lego Ninjago Movie’

The third time is not really the charm for the Warner Bros. franchise.

Review by J.T. Johnson

DIRECTORS: Charlie Bean, Paul Fisher, Bob Logan
WRITERS: Bob Logan, Paul Fisher, William Wheeler, Tom Wheeler, Jared Stern, John Whittington
MUSIC: Mark Mothersbaugh

“The Lego Movie” became a surprise hit in 2014 as a movie that both promoted its signature toy yet still had a heart of gold and plenty of laughs. This year, we were graced with two movies that have spun off from that original movie. In February, we received a brilliant flick called “The Lego Batman Movie” that captured both the soul of the original film and the character that Will Arnett originated.

Now, “The Lego Ninjago Movie” has been released and the third time isn’t necessarily the charm. The movie tries like hell to capture the same feel of the first two films, but it just falls short. So, what is this film all about exactly?

The story takes place in Ninjago, a city that is constantly under attack by Lord Garmadon, an evil warlord with four arms and a secret volcano lair. Unfortunately for Lord Garmadon, he is constantly being thwarted by Ninjas whose identities are unknown. The Ninjas are led by the Green Ninja who also happens to be Lloyd Garmadon, the warlord’s estranged son.

Eventually, after releasing the Ultimate Weapon upon the city, Lloyd and his friends must seek out another weapon that will save Ninjago. Along the way, he may also reconnect with the father he never had as Lord Garmadon heads out after them when they start their journey.

Now, I must admit that there were some families there in the theater that seemed to have at least a decent time. Therefore, this movie might actually work on that level. However, the great thing about the first two films is that they worked on people of all ages and this film just didn’t.

The jokes try to be as clever as those found in the first two movies, but they just don’t work most of the time. I found that I was easily bored through large chunks of the film. I won’t lie, I think I was pretty close to dozing off a couple of times.

One of my major problems with this movie is that beyond Lloyd and Garmadon, we don’t really get to know any of the other characters. I understand that the father/son dilemma is the center of the story, but the filmmakers could have taken some time to get to know the other Ninjas that Lloyd hangs out with. I would tell you more about them myself, but I’m honestly having a hard time even recalling them because that’s just how forgettable the characters are in this movie.

I still think there is life in this particular franchise. I can’t wait to see the true sequel to “The Lego Movie” and I hope that Warner Bros. keeps trying to make more spin-offs. I just hope they don’t hit too many more stumbling blocks like they did with this film.

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