For the third film of the LEGO movie series, the attention is now focused much more on the children watching. That's not to say that 'The LEGO Movie' and 'The LEGO Batman Movie' weren't for kids as well, but they were two movies that managed to speak to the adults too. I suppose it's a different angle, but it feels like it's losing it's touch by speaking to the kids who are watching OVER the adults. Between the first two, there was the advantage of making things for the whole family. This is still for the family, but primitive in comparison.
To begin with, this one takes it back to the idea that what you're seeing played out is actually toys being played with. It begins when a young boy enters a relic store owned by Jackie Chan. Jackie proceeds to tell the boy the legend of Ninjago, which centers on Lloyd; the Green Ninja. Every now and then, his father, Garmadon, attacks the city of Ninjago, and the five colored ninjas have to stop him with their mechs - not at all unlinke 'Power Rangers', complete with the cheesy dialogue.
The whole city knows that Garmadon is Lloyd's father, so they shun Lloyd at school. However, they, and Garmadon himself, don't know that he's the identity of the Green Ninja. It's eventually revealed, and the rest of the movie is mostly about Lloyd trying to find some sort of bond with his father. As for the other ninjas, they just don't do a hell of a lot other than offer comic relief.
It's interesting to think about, but there's an ongoing theme about "daddy issues" throughout all of these movies. 'The LEGO Movie' portrayed that cool twist of reality about a father letting his son play instead of being so strict. 'The LEGO Batman Movie' was largely about the idea of Batman "adopting" Robin and mentoring him. And now we have the neglectful father trying to make ammends (in a way). If these movies wanna continue, they're gonna have to start steering away from that theme.
'The LEGO Ninjago Movie' is not without it's funny moments. There were a few good laugh out loud spots here and there, but it had nothing on the other two. And I hate to say it, but now that we've dived into an actual LEGO property, this feels like commercialism. They are pandering to your kids at this point, and it takes away a lot of the magic the first two had going for them with their excellent stories and jokes.
This was by no means a bad movie for the age group it's targeted at, but I don't think the grown-ups are gonna get as much fun out of this. In the end, the movie feels rushed out, and it falls flat as a result. That said, there doesn't seem to be anything for next year, but a 'LEGO Movie' sequel is due for 2019, along with something called 'The Billion Brick Race'. I dunno what exactly that will be about, but hopefully these next two can bring that spirit back that the first two had.