- Audience-Alienating Premise: The fact that it was a Ninjago adaptation in the style of The LEGO Movie, while having no connection to either of them, certainly didn't do this movie any favors. People who liked the previous LEGO movies but weren't fans of Ninjago didn't know what to make of it, while Ninjago fans were apt to cry "They Changed It, Now It Sucks!". This was a major factor in the movie's marketing failure.
- Author's Saving Throw:
- The casting of Jackie Chan as Master Wu seems like an attempt to avoid accusations of cultural appropriation lobbied against the show, in which Sensei Wu had a Caucasian VA. It also helps that two of his students and Koko now have Asian VAsnote , in contrast with the TV show only casting one Asian among the main characters.
- The timeline regarding Garmadon and Lloyd's ages makes much more sense than it did in the TV show.
- For fans who complained about Misako appearing old enough to be Lloyd's grandmother instead of his mother, this version of her looks more like someone who might actually have a teenaged son.
- Broken Base: While it has its over-the-top and zany moments, the film pulls back the Leaning on the Fourth Wall humour of its predecessors in favour of a more emotional and grounded storyline, and also makes no references to the larger LEGO Movie universe. Some viewers took a liking to the film's more serious tone, while others felt that this made the film feel out-of-place in the franchise and found the LEGO aspect of the film to be irrelevant to the story or settings.note
- Crosses the Line Twice: Lloyd being ostracized by other students on the bus because they know his father is a warmonger? A bit sad. Everyone on the bus moving to the left side just so they don't have to be near him, telling him his dad ruins everything, and the entire bus tilting to the side? Hilarious.
- Ensemble Dark Horse: Perhaps befitting his elementnote , the Fuchsia Ninja got a surprisingly high amount of attention after he showed up in the last few seconds of one of the clips Warner posted before the premiere.
- Evil Is Cool: Justin Theroux's performance as Lord Garmadon seems like the most oft-praised one in this movie.
- Harsher in Hindsight: TLNM becoming both the first LEGO movie to reference the ill-fated Galidor, and the first LEGO movie to perform worse than expected, implies that the Galidor logo will remain a seal of low-quality for LEGO tie-ins.
- Hilarious in Hindsight:
- The first trailer has an apparently random pick of a popular song at the time ("Bad Blood" by Taylor Swift) while also establishing Garmadon's Never My Fault attitude. The title of Taytay's big hit song by the time the movie's due out? "Look What You Made Me Do".
- The end credits song "Dance of Doom" lists "Wait 'til a human steps on you and hurts their foot" as one of the steps. In the next LEGO movie, which revisits the first one's human family, some LEGO pieces subjecting the mother's feet to a pain "close second to childbirth" results in the destruction of the LEGO universe, until her bickering children make amends and build a new LEGO universe together.
- Iron Woobie: Hoo boy, Lloyd. He is widely despised by everyone sans his Ninja friends, his mother and his uncle simply because he's the son of Garmadon, the evil warlord. Likewise, his father is the clueless Jerkass who stated that he wasn't even a part of Lloyd's life. But despite all that, Lloyd manages to stay strong and eventually succeeds in repairing his relationship with his father at the end.
- More Popular Spin-Off: It feels safe to assume more people have seen The Master than The LEGO Ninjago Movie, due to WB attaching it to movies with larger grosses — Storks in theaters, and The LEGO Batman Movie on home video. The Master's IMDB score also looks slightly higher than that of the Ninjago movie, though with a much smaller number of votes.
- Nightmare Fuel: The village of fired generals. They have very clearly lost it. Notably, Shark General 1 is visibly twitching at points and jerking her head about, and even gives a Slasher Smile when she declares their intention to throw Garmadon and Lloyd into a volcano, including describing in detail how their flesh will melt off their bones before they even feel the heat. Also, their injuries are a little more realistic with the burns, and one of them going deaf from having been blasted out the volcano, whereas Lloyd losing his arm was played more for laughs.
- Signature Scene: Meowthra's arrival and initial attack on Ninjago City is consistently cited by fans and critics as one of the most memorable and funny scenes of the film, due to it consisting of a (sorta-)live-action cat adorably causing carnage in a LEGO city.
- So Okay, It's Average: A large consensus is that this LEGO movie doesn't stick together as well as the others, but it's alright as harmless entertainment.
- They Changed It, Now It Sucks!:
- Given that the much-beloved original series has been going on for six years (and counting), complaints about the Ninja's redesigns, the new voice cast, and the script's deviations (such as the absence of Spinjitzu) were inevitable.
- Fans of The LEGO Movie's all-LEGO aesthetic found it off-putting that parts of this movie's environment look so realistic.
- They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Kai, Jay, Zane, Cole, and Nya get sidelined, in order to place as much focus as possible on Lloyd's family drama.
- Uncanny Valley: For the most part, Meowthra looks very realistic and well-animated (it helps that Animal Logic is a visual effects studio first and foremost, meaning they have experience making realistic animal movements), but there are some shots where the cat looks a little off, mostly during close-ups and in certain lighting.
- Uncertain Audience: The film is said to be set in the same continuity as the theatrical LEGO Movies rather than the original series, to avoid alienating those that aren't familiar with the latter. Despite this, the film makes no references or connections to the other LEGO films and downplays their tone and humour in favour of a more standard, serious story. Most of the dialogue and in-jokes also won't make sense to an average viewer unless they're familiar with the original Ninjago series, and the characters are clearly introduced under the impression that the audience already knows who they are. Due to the Ninjago characters not being as well-known or as iconic as Batman, or just LEGO in general, this unfortunately worked against the film for many viewers, and is commonly cited as reason for its underperformance.
YMMV / The LEGO Ninjago Movie