Four-armed is forewarned?

Teenager Lloyd (Dave Franco) has issues. While often such kids look to blame any and all outside influences rather than themselves, this time everything’s on his father. All of it. After all, he is the Worst Guy Ever. He’s Garmadon (Justin Theroux), he’s evil, he has four arms, he loves himself (regularly) and the only contact he’s had with his son since about birth was an inadvertent butt dial. Oh, he also tries to destroy Lloyd’s home, Ninjago City, at every opportunity.

He sucks.

The LEGO Ninjago Movie

So does Lloyd’s school life, as everybody knows who his daddy is and freaks out at his very presence. It isn’t entirely hopeless though, for Lloyd has five friends who share a big bond with him – they’re all secret ninjas.

Cole (Fred Armisen) is the Earth ninja (and wicked DJ), Jay (Kumail Nanjiani) is the lightning ninja, Kai (Michael Peña) is the fire ninja, Nya (Abbi Jacobson) is the water ninja and robotic Zane (Zach Woods) is the ice ninja. Oh, and Lloyd is the green ninja – whatever that may entail…

Despite Garmadon’s tendency to fire (literally) his many generals every opportunity that he gets, his most seriously mounted threat yet upon Ninjago City sees our six ninjas – under the much-needed tutelage of the sage-like Master Wu (Jackie Chan) – having to bring their A-game (and seriously awesome mechs) in order to save their city from a new, wholly bigger (and fluffier) adversary. Will they win out? Will Lloyd and his father reconcile? If so, will he finally stop calling his son “La-loyd”? Oh yeah, and will we find out what on Earth a green ninja’s power actually is?

The LEGO Ninjago Movie

While The LEGO Movie and The LEGO Batman Movie both had existing vastly popular IPs to play with, The LEGO Ninjago Movie is potentially handicapped by being based on a unique, LEGO-created universe. However, that’s forgotten once proceedings get rolling, as the story oozes with ’80s movie stylings from the likes of Gremlins, The Princess Bride and The Karate Kid, colliding with pretty much every martial arts movie ever. The fight moves were even animated based on those of Jackie Chan’s legendary stunt crew!

Kudos are also due for avoiding the obvious daddy issues soundtrack choices of Cat Stevens’ Father and Son or Harry Chapin’s Cat’s in the Cradle in favour of Jim Croce’s track I Got a Name, which is rather amusing in context.

While nothing original story-wise, the action, gags and great visuals (including, appropriately, real world elements) see The LEGO Ninjago Movie making it three-for-three for the big LEGO flicks. If you were into the first two but have your doubts here, don’t. Go ninja, go Ninjago!

In cinemas: September 21, 2017star-4
Starring: Jackie Chan, Dave Franco, Justin Theroux
Directed by: Charlie Bean, Paul Fisher, Bob Logan