The first thirty minutes of THE LEGO NINJAGO MOVIE plays out like The Lego Movie and The Lego Batman Movie. Zany fun, with some dry humor, huge sight and sound gags, and very smart storytelling. Then when that thirty minutes is over, it skids into a tad boring film that is less about ninjas and what they do into a cliched parent neglect and redemption story. A story you’ve seen a thousand times before done by better films. If the Lego humor was still there, it could’ve worked, but ultimately, it was a little disappointing. I think if it would’ve entirely focused on Ninjas with an actual Ninja like storyline, instead of the father son thing while trying to take over a city, it might’ve been another Lego hit. Instead, it is my least favorite of the Lego movies, and one that will probably never enter the Blu ray player again. But I have a kid now so I might have just eaten my words in three years.
The voice acting in this is incredible though. Dave Franco and his team of Ninjas played by the likes of Abba Jacobson and Kumail Nanjiani, all do great work in this. So does Olivia Munn as Lloyd’s mom and Jackie Chan (who is in the flesh here as well and is just as charming as ever) as their Ninja master. But it is the villain, Garmadon, voiced by Justin Theoroux, who steals absolutely every scene he is in, making the best Lego villain yet, unfortunately in a film that doesn’t equal the characters potential. It is the voice acting and the first 30 minutes, especially with a awesome cat gag, that save this movie from ultimately being completely boring and unwatchable.
When a movie is called Ninjago, I expected an awesome Ninja storyline with Ninja sights, sounds, and gags filling every minute of the screen. They still could’ve put the dad and son storyline in the movie, but it be a Plot B type of thing while have a Ninja quest plot A. But it focuses too much on the dad and son storyline, and I knew how it was going to end, and even the journey to get there was not inventive enough, leaving me unimpressed. Plus, this needed more Jackie Chan. The Lego animation is still incredible here, but the humor after the first 30 minutes kind of disappears and the movie plays it too straight. It should be 100% zany Lego fun. Not 35%.
Hopefully this is just a misfire all the franchises have and they take their time making The Lego Movie 2. I feel like Ninjago might’ve been a rushed product after the success of the original first movie, and rushed it into production without much of a script. Since the first two movies were so enjoyable, I can let this one slide. But if the next movie almost puts me to sleep, there could be fast franchise fatigue on Lego’s hands. The saddest part of this film? I probably would’ve rather watched a kid play an hour and 30 minutes with his Lego’s than have ever watched this. This should not happen.