The LEGO Ninjago Movie Review

It was obvious from the get-go that The LEGO Ninjago Movie would be the least inspired installment of the continuing LEGO Movie franchise. Based loosely off a children’s cartoon series (which in turn was based off a preexisting toyline), The LEGO Ninjago Movie tells the story of Lloyd Garmadon (Dave Franco), who lives in a metropolitan city constantly threatened by the evil Lord Garmadon (Justin Theroux). Lloyd happens to be the most despised individual in the entire city, mostly because of his relation to Lord Garmadon.

Luckily, Garmadon never comes close to ruling over anything, because the LEGO city is protected by a secretive ninja force led by Master Wu (Jackie Chan). And, unbeknownst to just about everyone, Lloyd happens to be one of those very ninjas. He, along with the rest of his ninja friends, is about to embark on a dangerous quest to stop Lord Garmadon for good.

The LEGO Ninjago Movie features many bizarre creative choices that I found to be quite delightful. The tone and the genre of the film, for example, are ever-changing and seem to be a blend of many ideas.

This film should’ve come with a hyperactivity warning, as there are very few breathers for the audience. Not only are the scene transitions quick, but entire plot points fly by at a rapid pace. What felt like five minutes of watching LEGO Ninjago turned out to be an hours’ worth of the film.

Sadly, most of the characters didn’t have any depth or personality to them. Other than the lead antagonist Garmadon and Master Wu, none really stood out as being interesting. I noticed multiple talented voice actors behind the little brick figures, but I guess the script didn’t call for utilizing their full potential.

Probably the best aspect of the film was the clever humor poking fun at popular action/adventure genre tropes. In one scene, they mock the overuse of the popular sound effect dubbed the Wilhelm Scream (heard in Star Wars as well as Indiana Jones). In another hilarious scene, they comment on how the wise character in action/adventure movies always withhold incredibly important knowledge until they’re in the process of dying. Very funny.

The LEGO Ninjago Movie had plenty of comedic, fun-filled moments, yet unfortunately lacked the charm of its LEGO predecessors. There are a plethora of scenes attempting to teach kids very simple and valuable messages. But where these scenes came off as cute in LEGO Batman and The LEGO Movie, here they’re just sappy. Those looking for a fast-paced children’s comedy won’t need to search any further. However, if you were expecting anything more than that, you may find yourself disappointed.

The Verdict: B-

-Zachary Flint

The Lego Batman Movie Review

Coming into the 2017 year, everyone has those movies that they’re really anticipating. Many people I know are excited for films like Spider-man Homecoming, Star Wars VIII, and Justice League. I, however, was pumped for the release of The Lego Batman Movie. As a huge fan of The Lego Movie, I had a strong feeling that this film starring Batman would turn out to be as good as its predecessor. And, as usual, I was right.

The film stars Will Arnett as Batman, the vigilante superhero who loves to be showered with praise by the citizens of Gotham City for defeating villains like the Joker (voiced by Zach Galifianakis). However we quickly learn that deep down Batman feels very lonely and isolated from others. And after accidentally adopting Dick Grayson (who ends up becoming Batman’s sidekick Robin), Batman must now learn to hone his parenting skills and become a dad. With the help of his friends and family, Batman must work to stop the newest scheme cooked up by the Joker and gang.

I would like to start by mentioning how great the characters are. these little Lego figures were given full fledged personalities through the wonderful voice talents of people like Will Arnett and Michael Cera (among many others). Batman has this serious brooding aura that he gives off the whole film, and Robin is constantly being flamboyant and ditzy. After watching the film you can really connect to a lot of the characters personalities, more so than in many live action movies.

I could sit around talking all day about how fantastic the animation was in the film, but I feel even those who were not excited to see this aren’t debating how good it was. The mix of dark overcast sky and bright, colorful action really made the film visually astounding.

The animation for The Lego Batman Movie is not only good, but it’s fast-paced and flashy. The film is like a kid with ADHD who can’t sit down, or stop moving. Movements of the characters and camera angles are all very quick, but they still manage to flow in a comprehensive manner. I wasn’t at any point struggling to understand what was happening. I was able to follow along intently with the amazing action sequences and delightful story.

The humor in this film is pretty clever and hits on a lot of styles of comedy. One of my favorite scenes involves a great throwback joke towards all the previous Batman movies. Alfred Pennyworth mentions to Batman all the times he gets very moody, cuing a Lego montage of every Batman film since 1989. Another great scene is where Batman visits Superman’s home in the Fortress of Solitude, where the 57th Annual Justice League Anniversary Party is happening (without Batman of course). These are just two of the many, many funny as hell scenes in the little Lego world of Batman.

Now, there were many children in the theater during my viewing of The Lego Batman Movie. I’ve always been able to accurately judge how engaging a film is overall by how quiet the majority of kids are in the theater. And wouldn’t you know it, as soon as the film came on, there was dead silence. I take this to be a very good sign. If the film wasn’t engaging or entertaining, the kids would have been running up and down the isles flinging popcorn into the air.

If you have seen The Lego Movie and enjoy watching it, chances are you’ll enjoy this. The Lego Batman Movie has plenty going for it to entertain both small children and adults. The animation is fantastic, the story simple and humorous, and the characters are beyond memorable. I enjoyed myself so much watching the film that I might have to go see it a second time.

The verdict: A

-Zachary Flint