Follow TV Tropes
Man, I love these films, and even without much love for the original series or the premise of the film, I eagerly snatched it up once I found the DVD. I was not disappointed.
The cast is great. There's an admirable effort to have a more diverse cast with some having Asian backgrounds, which helps to alleviate the potentially awkward faux-Asia-by-America vibe, and all of them perform well. Dave Franco is shockingly good as Lloyd, and Jackie Chan could not be more adorable and charming.
The animation once more moves away from the all-LEGO look of the original, but there's some justification because this film is framed from the beginning as a reenactment performed by LEGO and some scenery in a shop. There's still some fantastic physical comedy and the LEGO solutions to a lot of effects are still brilliant. This film is particularly impressive in the sheer expressiveness of the minifigure "actors", as the LEGO face is really manipulated to emote, and it's really effective.
The story is really nice. Refreshingly avoiding an origin story, we instead see this version of Ninjago: The ninja are high-schoolers on standby for any of many frequent attacks by Lord Garmadon, Lloyd's father. Lloyd is of course tormented in his everyday life, but seen as a hero as the Green Ninja, enemy of Garmadon. What follows is half action movie, half family drama (these films all have themes of fatherhood, interestingly), and it's great. The typical LEGO silliness and meta-humor is rampant, but as usual, there's room for heavy emotion and subtlety. The framing device of the film is probably its weakest link due to the lack of reasoning for it, but Chan is so charming that it's hard to fault. I really enjoyed the maturity of the film, and its refusal to be too crass in its comedy.
Misako/Koko, Lloyd's mother, is also great, but feels underused for her supposed importance.
These are films where you are excited for the credits, because there's an awesome, joyous song to be had. Oh, Hush! and Jeff Lewis knock it out of the park again and it adds to the high of happiness this film delivers.
Overall, though, this film is really enjoyable and sweet, and deserves a better reputation. Go see it. You don't need to be a fan of either of its sources to have a great time watching it.
Community Showcase More