The Lego Ninjago Movie is a computer animated action-comedy marital arts film co-directed by Charlie Bean, Paul Fisher and Bob Logan and is the first film of the franchise to be based on an original Lego property.
The film tells the story of the city of Ninjago that lives with the constant threat of attack by the villainous Lord Garmadon (Justin Theroux) who wishes to rule over the city. This makes life very difficult for his teenage son Lloyd (Dave Franco) who is an outcast due to his family connection which results in Lloyd harbouring deep resentment towards his absent Father.
What they don’t realise is that Lloyd is part of the secret Ninja Force consisting of his school friends Kai (Michael Pena), Zane (Zach Woods), Jay (Kumail Nanjiani), Nya (Abbi Jackson) and Cole (Fred Armisen) who protect the citizens of Ninjago from Garmadon’s attacks. The group’s leader is Master Wu (Jackie Chan), Lloyd’s Uncle, whose wise words put his students on the right path to reach their full potential.
During one of Garmadon’s attacks, Lloyd’s feelings towards his Father finally gets the better of him and his actions place the city under even greater threat which must be stopped as soon as possible. With the solution located on the opposite side of the island the Ninja’s must embark on a quest to save the city where along the way they learn some important lessons about themselves.
As with its predecessors the film is visually-striking and fast paced with a continuous stream of gags. The gags this time round are more playful and light-hearted in tone which may appeal more to the younger ones in the audience.
Justin Theroux shines as Lord Garmadon and you can tell he is having fun hamming it up as he and Dave Franco as Lloyd get the meatiest roles and most screen time as the story centres on the dynamics between their characters.
This does however mean that the supporting cast are given no time to be fleshed out as individuals so the Ninja’s don’t come across as a team of friends with an inseparable bond. Jackie Chan as Master Wu though is entertaining and alongside Theroux gets the most laughs.
The storyline is much simpler than the previous two Lego films and this does seem to point to having too many writers involved (there are six credited to the screenplay) all with ideas they wish to incorporate but in the end none of them seem to be fully developed.
The Lego Ninjago Movie is a fun action packed film with positive messages (if not particularly deep) of empowerment, acceptance and courage. Though it doesn’t quite reach the heights of The Lego Movie and The Lego Batman Movie there is still enough for all fans to enjoy.