Acceptably Silly: Our Review of ‘The Lego Ninjago Movie’

Posted in Movies, Theatrical by - September 22, 2017
Acceptably Silly: Our Review of ‘The Lego Ninjago Movie’

You know, sometimes silly is just good enough…

While it is easily the weakest entry of the three to date, The Lego Ninjago Movie is still a fair bit of fun for fans both young and old as it leans on tropes from almost every movie made in the Pacific Rim (even Pacific Rim itself)

The battle for Ninjago City calls to action young Master Builder Lloyd, aka the Green Ninja (voiced by Dave Franco), along with his friends, who are all secret ninja warriors. Led by Master Wu (Jackie Chan), as wise-cracking as he is wise, they must defeat evil warlord Garmadon (Justin Theroux) aka ‘The Worst Guy Ever’, who also happens to be Lloyd’s dad. Pitting mech against mech and father against son, the epic showdown will test this fierce but undisciplined team of modern-day ninjas who must learn to check their egos and pull together to unleash their inner power of Spinjitzu.

Sure, anyone over the age of 11 will get bogged down and confused anytime that they dive into Ninjago lore…but that being said thank god they don’t do too much of it because The Lego Ninjago movies plays pretty darn well as a loving ode to the films that studios like Toho and Shaw Brothers released back in the day.  It’s doesn’t have to make a whole lot of sense, but it succeeds in giving us some frenetic action and a sly wink to those films of yesteryear.

With a writing and directing team that is simply too numerous to mention (so I won’t) this film did manage to keep itself together as this collaboration between art department members and animation directors from a myriad of other projects actually cobbled together a coherent little movie that works far better then it probably should.  The action is solid from top to bottom and done well enough in a way to keep the kids engaged but to at least make sure that the adults don’t roll their eyes too much with all the craziness being splattered across the screen.  It’s a narrative that flows with ease and follows some very similar beats from stories about young action heroes trying to find the courage to rise above and be better than they can be…blah blah blah.  Nothing here reinvents the wheel, but it’s at least it’s all an entertaining and only occasionally pandering amount of fun.

Dave Franco makes for a likeable leading man at least in voice form and the dynamic that they’ve assembled between him and Justin Theroux as his wise cracking evil villain dad and Jackie Chan as the wise cracking yet sage and wise uncle hits all the right buttons for fans young and old.  There are a few more familiar voices but it is an animated B-Squad of talent that won’t necessarily light the world on fire, but will keep you engaged for as long as it needs to.

Ultimately, while The Lego Ninjago Movie lacks some of the wit and relevance of the first two Lego films, it does enough right and it still makes for an entertaining night at theatres.

  • Release Date: 9/22/2017
This post was written by
David Voigt is a Toronto based writer with a problem and a passion for the moving image and all things cinema. Having moved from production to the critical side of the aisle for well over 10 years now at outlets like, Criticize This, Dork Shelf (Now That Shelf), to.Night Newspaper he’s been all across his city, the country and the continent in search of all the news and reviews that are fit to print from the world of cinema.
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