The Lego Ninjago Movie review: bamboozlingly inept –

Dirs: Charlie Bean, Paul Fisher, Bob Logan. Cast: Dave Franco, Justin Theroux, Fred Armisen, Kumail Nanjiani, Michael Peña, Abbi Jacobson, Zach Woods, Jackie Chan (voices). U cert, 101 mins

When word got out six years ago about the coming of The Lego Movie, a cloud of anxiousness began to form around the project. Those beloved plastic bricks deserved better than a feature-length, weaponised toy advert – and mercifully, miraculously, better than that was what they got, by a ridiculous distance. (Thank writer-directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller and their limitlessly inventive animators for that.) 

But fast-forward to 2014, and news that Warner Animation Group was working on a Batman-themed spin-off dredged up the same old fears. Lightning had admittedly struck once, but a double-branded franchise extension had the tenor of a cash-in. Instead, The Lego Batman Movie turned out to be one of the sharpest, most cine-literate superhero films around, with a gag delivery rate so quick it made your ears flap like the doors of a saloon.

You can probably see where this is going. The Lego Ninjago Movie – that’s Nin-JAH-go, not Ninja-go – is based on the line of Lego sets inspired by martial arts and kaiju monster-vs-robot romps, and is the first instalment some of us have felt completely at ease with in advance. Yet the end product – this film, unlike its forerunners, is unmistakably a product – is the all-banging, all-yelling embodiment of your very worst toy-to-film-related fears.


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