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What Critics Are Saying About The LEGO Ninjago Movie

Critics are (for the most part) happy with The LEGO Ninjago Movie. The first reviews are out for the upcoming children's flick, and they are generally positive, although most seem to agree that the film doesn't quite live up to the crazy expectations set by The LEGO Movie and The LEGO Batman Movie.

The LEGO Ninjago Movie stars Jackie Chan as Master Wu, a wise-cracking kung fu master tasked with training six teenage warriors, led by the Green Ninja Lloyd (Dave Franco), to defeat the evil warlord Garmadon (Justin Theroux), the "Worst Guy Ever" who just happens to be Lloyd's dead. The epic showdown tests the team of fierce but undisciplined ninjas as they have to learn how to check their egos and unleash their true power.

IndieWire's David Erlich was firmly in favor of Ninjago, calling it "every bit as irreverent, smart, and ridiculously entertaining as its predecessors." He complimented the film's decision to make the villain a real-life cat named Meothrwa, saying that the effect is "laugh-out-loud funny" every time the character enters a scene. While he said that the film's "emotional backbone" is "flimsy," overall, he thought the cast's charms saved the project.

Collider's Matt Goldberg also had a mostly positive review, saying that the film proves that the LEGO movies are becoming a brand in their own right. Although he said that the movie was the worst of the three LEGO films thus far, he was still a fan, calling it "surprisingly sweet and charming" even with a familiar plot. "Although it doesn't hit as well as The LEGO Movie or The LEGO Batman MovieThe LEGO Ninjago Movie is still a delight, and a promising path forward for future LEGO spinoffs," he wrote.

The Hollywood Reporter's John DeFore was a little less complimentary. Although he said that there were plenty of laughs in the film for kids, he didn't think that adults would get as much of a kick out of the movie as they did out of the first two LEGO outings. He called the movie's jokes "inoffensive and generally effective," although he knocked it for an "eye-rolling" emotional climax.

Variety's Andrew Barker had similar feelings, saying that the film still provided plenty of fun, but that the franchise's similar plots meant that it was starting to feel old. "Still plenty entertaining and occasionally very funny, Ninjago nonetheless displays symptoms of diminishing returns, and LEGO might want to shuffle its pieces a bit before building yet another film with this same model," he wrote.

The A.V. Club's Jesse Hassenger went almost entirely negative, saying that the film felt more like "a middling kids distractor" than the franchise's two very funny previous outings. He criticized the film for relying on "cheap meme humor" and for squandering its impressive voiceover talent and said that, overall, it felt "sluggish and far less joke-dense than its predecessors." 

Olivia Munn, Michael Pena, Abbi Jacobson, Kumail Nanjiani, Fred Armisen, and Zach Woods also star in The LEGO Ninjago Movie, which is directed by Charlie Bean, Paul Fisher, and Bob Logan based on a script from Logan, Fisher, William and Tom Wheeler, Jared Stern, and John Whittington. The movie is due out on Sept. 22; in the meantime, see the untold truth of The Lego Movie.