Daddy Issues – The LEGO Ninjago Movie (2017)

Calm down, Warner Brothers.  So this is about a part-time high school student, part-time ninja named Lloyd (Dave Franco).  He is ostracized at school because his estranged father (Justin Theroux) keeps trying to take over the city.  Will he defeat his father with his ragtag group of ninja-student friends or will he work out his family problems?  So both the LEGO Movie and the LEGO Batman Movie have been giant smash hits.  They’ve also been big critical darlings too, because they have been so jam-packed with jokes that they make for a great time for both children and adults alike.  Well, they have finally reached that fork in the road, and I knew something had to be up when we were getting two LEGO movies in the same year.

1This is everything that I was expecting the first LEGO movie to be, as it was way better than it really had any business being.

This movie just doesn’t have that same magic to it, and it all starts with the jokes.  The writing isn’t there, and it just isn’t designed in a way that is going to make you connect with it.  When you break it all down, it is a very simple story, which would be fine if it had all of the punch-up that kept you laughing consistently.  I got a few smiles out of this, but seldom laughter, and everything that got a laugh out of me, they ran it into the ground.  For example, the main antagonist ends up being this cat, and it is a funny joke when it first pops up, but then it becomes clear that this was the only thing that wrote on paper for it: a cat shows up.  The only thing they really keeping harping on is this father-son relationship, and it is just not deep enough to be the main plot.

2 Justin Theroux is just doing a Will Ferrell impression from the first movie.

These movies have been pulling off the feat in that they are advertisements that don’t feel like advertisements… until now, that is.  This feels like they are just pushing a branch of toys to kids who will probably come up with more creative stories than they did here just messing around with their toys.  There is really just not all that much to it, and it ends up being predictable because of it.  Even at a relatively short 100 minutes, this ends up feeling too long, and I just walked away from this feeling tired.  WB needs to realize that they can’t half-ass these things going forward or people are going to stop showing up for these across the board.

The LEGO Ninjago Movie (2017) **1/2

– Critic for Hire


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