Back left
Back right

The LEGO Ninjago Movie Review

Reviewed by on Sep 21, 2017
Rating: 4 Star Rating

Check Kidzworld’s movie review of The LEGO Ninjago Movie. Is it as much fun as the last two LEGO films or the Ninjago TV series?

By: Lynn Barker

In The LEGO Ninjago Movie, six high-schoolers headed by socially-dissed Lloyd (Dave Franco), live in the Asian city of Ninjago. When warlord Garmadon (Justin Theroux) arrives to take over or destroy the city (it happens regularly), the teens ask for bathroom passes to don their ninja outfits and hop in their Mechs to fight him. Classmates love Lloyd’s secret alter-ego The Green Ninja but hey, Lloyd is Garmadon’s son so he’s on their crap lists. And you thought your school life was complicated.

Green Ninja in action in his dragon MechGreen Ninja in action in his dragon MechCourtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment

In the Real World

In live action, the magical owner of a Chinese antique shop (Jackie Chan) tells a depressed, LEGO-loving kid the story of Ninjago and its warriors and villain.

Asian antique store owner Jackie ChanAsian antique store owner Jackie ChanCourtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment

In Ninjago City

On the “Good Morning Ninjago” TV talk show, we are told that villain Garmadon will attack again. The call is out for secret ninjas, who represent Fire, Water, Earth, Ice and Lightning, the Green Ninja (secretly Lloyd), Kai (Michael Peña), Nya (Abbi Jacobson), Jay (Kumail Nanjiani), Cole (Fred Armisen) and Zane (Zach Woods) trained by Master Wu (Jackie Chan) to come save the day.

Garmadon and his forces attack the cityGarmadon and his forces attack the cityCourtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment

Secret Identity

Lloyd, as Garmadon’s son, is ridiculed and hated at school. It’s his birthday but the kids just create a song “Boo Lloyd” which goes viral. The call for help is received and the secret teen ninjas change clothes, hop into their giant Mechs and fight Garmadon. Green Ninja saves a school bus full of kids and confronts his dad who couldn’t care less about him. Missiles are fired but Garmadon has a shield. None-the-less the villain retreats to his home inside a volcano pissed off that Green Ninja keeps chasing him away and firing a bunch of his generals for not stopping him.

The ninjas in their school gearThe ninjas in their school gearCourtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment

Learning the Elements

Master Wu tells the ninjas that they must see things from more than one point of view and that they aren’t using their elemental powers. Lloyd, being Green isn’t sure what his is but the ninjas manage to find and use Wu’s “Ultimate Weapon” which is… uh, a laser pointer! This fun “toy” of course attracts a “giant” (at least to mini-figs) cat who comes to play with it in the city, destroying everything. The locals name him Meowthra. Lloyd found the pointer so it’s all his fault. Even his fellow ninjas hate him.

Meowthra says where is that laser?Meowthra says where is that laser?Courtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment

The Last Ultimate Weapon

Wu tells the ninjas that they must reconcile and trek across the island through many scary obstacles to get the last weapon against Garmadon. Wu, who is Garmadon’s brother, and the warlord fight. Garmadon is captured, caged and forced to go with the ninjas on their trek. On the way he must face all the angry generals he fired! What is the last ultimate weapon? Will father and son ever reconcile? Will Green Ninja figure out what his elemental power is? Will the city be saved from the dreaded house cat Meowthra?

Garmadon must accompany the ninjas on their questGarmadon must accompany the ninjas on their questCourtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment

Wrapping Up

The LEGO Ninjago Movie is funny and action-packed. Many of the jokes will appeal to adults and teens, the colorful mini-fig action will capture the attention of younger audience members and there are plenty of funny “builds” in the background to keep you re-watching to see them all once the movie comes out on home video. There is a very serious premise at the heart of the film… an estranged father and son must make their ways back to each other and, hopefully a family will be reunited.  This might be just a little too “heavy” a story for such a playful movie.

Master Wu fights his brother GarmadonMaster Wu fights his brother GarmadonCourtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment

The overall premise is borrowed from every “Power Rangers” movie or TV show out there: Undercover high school ninjas must find their inner powers while riding around in giant Mechs that look like Transformers or Dragons and fighting over-the-top villains. The fact that these little ninjas are LEGO mini-figures and everything around them is creatively built from the LEGO sets (plus some CGI) makes the movie just fresh enough to enjoy.

The ninjas with their MechsThe ninjas with their MechsCourtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment

Voice actors are wonderful. Justin Theroux, voicing Garmadon, is just the right mix of comic mega-villain and confused absentee dad. Dave Franco is sympathetic and fun as social outcast and wanna-be hero Lloyd and, although I didn’t mention her character in the synopsis, Olivia Munn is effective as the voice of Koko, Lloyd’s busy mom who has a secret identity of her own. Supporting actor voices are also right on point.

Ninjas assemble!Ninjas assemble!Courtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment

I don’t think the live action sequences with Jackie Chan telling a young boy the Ninjago story are really necessary but some of the songs “Boo Lloyd” and “The Dance of Doom” are pretty hilarious… though not as upbeat as the first film’s “Everything is Awesome”.

Although the use of LEGO mini-figs in films is no longer unique, The LEGO Ninjago Movie is certainly still entertaining enough. We go four stars.

The LEGO Ninjago Movie Rating: 4

The LEGO Ninjago Movie PosterThe LEGO Ninjago Movie PosterCourtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment

See The LEGO Ninjago Movie in theaters Friday, September 22nd!


Have Your Say

Which is your fave LEGO mini-fig? Are you a builder or just enjoy the movies? Couldn’t care less? Comment below!