I had no idea going into Lego Ninjago what I was in for other than the fact that my son LOVED Lego Batman and that we see Ninjago themed sets prominently displayed at the Lego Store. I saw that the reviews were generally poor, but really how bad could the movie be?
Well... it's not a good movie... but my 4 year old loved it: reinforcing the fact that kids don't need silly things like plot or character motivation to enjoy a movie.
So what is a "Ninjago?"
It's a city that's a Westernized version of a mixture of Chinese and Japanese cultures that has teenage ninja's using giant mechs to fight a bad guy. Not bad guys. The same bad guy. Over and over. That bad guy happens to be the father of the Green Ninja Lloyd (properly pronounced "La-Loyd"). Everyone in the city knows Lloyd's dad is a jerk and treats him like a pariah because they don't know he is the Green Ninja. Lloyd himself doesn't know that his mom was a famous ninja either... but that's beside the point (really, her ninja skills never matter).
So it's kinda like Peter Parker meets Luke Skywalker.
So... yada yada yada, hour and a half movie; Lloyd's dad becomes good, Lloyd saves Ninjago, happy family and friends, roll pop music filled credits.
My son really liked it.
The movie is largely forgettable to most parents and in time for most kids unless they are heavily invested in "Ninjago" play sets. Sure, Jackie Chan was kinda cool and funny. Sure the cat that was named "Meowethra" was a clever kaiju stand in. But the rest of the film just felt flat with a few chuckle inducing moments... moments that the film makers thought to much of and tried repeating them over and over again.
My son told his mom all about the movie later that night before bed.
So, I really didn't care for the movie... but, that's part of being a parent... You watch children's movies because they want to watch them. You take the wins where you can get them. The Lego Movie, and Lego Batman built upon the same formula, but Lego Ninjago already feels like the film makers are out of ideas for this franchise.
But my kid now want's "Ninjago" Legos... sigh.