When The LEGO Movie first hit theaters in 2014, audiences weren’t prepared for it’s refreshingly fast-paced, eccentric style of comedy nor its surprisingly emotional third act. Now, three years later, Warner Bros. has begun its first step towards building out this unlikely franchise with The LEGO Batman Movie and, now, The LEGO Ninjago Movie, which hits theaters this weekend. While both films have managed to maintain the same comedic style and emotional themes of the original LEGO Movie, they’ve also both shown signs of how quickly this formula can start to wear thin.
Fortunately, The LEGO Ninjago Movie has a different enough backdrop and story to keep it from ever becoming too familiar or boring. Based on the LEGO property of the same name, Ninjago keeps the self-referential and parodical style of its two franchise predecessors, but swaps out the underdog and comic book movie settings of those films for a ninja-themed coming-of-age story. The result is an exuberantly told, if occasionally familiar and comedically uneven, story about a family learning how to come together for the first time.
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