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The Lego Ninjago Movie review – this toy ad doesn’t quite connect

The Lego Ninjago Movie review – this toy ad doesn’t quite connect

Who’d have thought three or so years ago that a movie about Lego would come with big expectations? Following the surprise awesomeness of The Lego Movie, and the hilarity of The Lego Batman Movie, it’s the turn of the Ninjago franchise to get involved.

Dave Franco voices Lloyd, a young man who feels held back in life because of his father, the villainous Lord Garmadon (Justin Theroux) who keeps trying to destroy the city of Ninjago. This wins him few friends, but what his fellow citizens don’t know is that he is also a ninja charged with protecting the city alongside The Secret Ninja Force.  If they are to overcome Garmadon, Lloyd must push past his own feelings and discover the power within him. Oh, and never use the ‘Ultimate Weapon’!

This isn’t the first film to seem primarily interested in selling toys – as fun as The Lego Batman Movie was, you knew every scene was available to buy in shops. It’s just that now the Lego franchise has settled into a formula, that cynicism seems more obvious.

The film makers go with what worked before – father-son issues, a hapless villain, a Lego city under siege. There are some glorious flourishes, particularly a scene when the ‘Ultimate Weapon’ is finally revealed, but mostly the film feels very familiar to what’s come before. That’s not a bad thing, and younger viewers who are the target audience will be perfectly happy with it. It’s just not particularly captivating for anyone older.

Dave Franco, who often seems cast in movies because he’s very similar to his older brother, gets to flex his comic muscles with a likable performance. He’s stuck somewhere between the heroism of The Lego Movie’s Emmet and the bravado of Lego Batman, but fits into the irreverent humour of the plot. He’s also got a great co-star to bounce off of.

Justin Theroux’s Lord Garmadon may be President Business in a different costume, but the actor’s delivery is pitch perfect and the exchanges between the two actors are the highlights of the film. Add to this the presence of Jackie Chan, appearing both ‘as himself’ and as Lloyd’s mentor Master Wu, which gives the Kung Fu spoof some authenticity.

Maybe it’s because we’re on our third movie, but Lego Ninjago doesn’t feel as surprising as its two predecessors. There’s still plenty of fun to be had, but a couple of eye rolls may creep in between the chuckles. Here’s hoping the two Lego movies on the horizon (The Lego Movie 2 and The Billion Brick Race) have more invention.

MORE: Win a ninja-tastic trip to the LEGOLAND® Windsor Resort and find your inner piece with The LEGO NINJAGO Movie

Metro Entertainment - Film

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