Lego Ninjago review
Photo: Warner Bros Singapore

Young Master Builder Lloyd a.k.a. the Green Ninja (Dave Franco) is part of an order of secret ninja warriors in Ninjago City led by Master Wu (Jackie Chan). Together, they must defeat the evil warlord Garmadon (Justine Theroux), who also happens to be Lloyd’s dad.

This is the second attempt to recreate the magic – not to mention box office success – of the AWESOME The LEGO Movie, after The Lego Batman Movie (see my review). It’s also a spiritual sequel to the much loved Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu animated TV series, which ran for seven seasons with an eighth on the horizon.

The film is a definite visual feast with some of the best 3D animation that I’ve seen from Warner Bros Animation. Coupled with fight sequences choreographed by Chan’s own stunt team, we also get some of the best animated kung fu sequences ever rendered.

Lego Ninjago review
Photo: Warner Bros Singapore

Lloyd and Lord Garmadon are the real highlight of the movie, with Franco and Theroux’s voices fuelling the banter (and masking most of the film’s shortcomings). As ever, the voice cast is a star-studded one, with Jackie Chan and Olivia Munn as Koko, Lloyd’s plucky single mother.

Chan is a surprisingly good fit as Master Wu, spouting some of the best lines in the movie while Munn actually proves to be a lot more useful to this plot than she did in the forgettable X-Men: Apocalypse (see our review). 

A host of comedians like Kumail Nanjiani, Abbi Jacobson and Michael Pena rounds out the rest of the cast members. I have to admit that I was a little bummed that the original voice actors were not cast in the movie adaptation, but these new guys did a pretty decent job.

Lego Ninjago review
Photo: Warner Bros Singapore

But the original animated series had a lot of heart which is notably absent in the big-screen version. It seems to have traded the tight camaraderie of the title characters for the veneer of flashy CGI and shoddy storytelling. While this may be enough to entertain your kids as their weekend movie treat, it does leave a bit more to be desired.

The storyline also feels like it was chiseled together by a kid with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder), as the movie keeps switching focus throughout the film. It starts out as your typical lighthearted superheroes-saving-the-city ensemble movie, before switching gears to a poignant good son/bad father journey of discovery. 

This movie could actually be seen as a reboot of the The LEGO Movie as it shares very similar concepts and plot points (not to mention pacing). With this third movie under their belt, I do hope there is an overall grand plan for a LEGO Movie Cinematic Universe (LMCU) that ties all these movies together. Perhaps with The LEGO Movie 2 in 2019?

The Lego Ninjago Movie is playing in Singapore cinemas now. Tell us what you think of our review!

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