Warner Bros. Animation's 2014 hit The LEGO Movie established a fun (and lucrative) LEGO cinematic universe with its own set of "rules" and quirky design, for future installments to play around in. A traditional sequel to The LEGO Movie is currently in the pipeline for a 2019 release, but arriving first - this year, in fact - are a pair of different, genre-themed spinoffs: the DC comic book superhero-driven The LEGO Batman Movie (with Will Arnett returning as the eponymous Caped Crusader) and The LEGO Ninjago Movie, a big screen version of the martial arts/sci-fi inspired Ninjago LEGO brand of the same name.
Co-directed by Charlie Bean (TRON: Uprising), Bob Logan (the 1986 Ghostbusters animated series) and first-timer Paul Fisher, LEGO Ninjago Movie was co-scripted by Dan and Kevin Hageman: co-writers of the original LEGO Movie and longtime writers on the animated TV show, Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu. A first look image of The LEGO Ninjago Movie's villain, Lord Garmadon (voiced by The Leftovers star Justin Theroux) was previously released, but additional details and images from the film - this time, featuring the movie's team of heroes - have now made their way online too.
The LEGO Ninjago Movie revolves around a team of teenaged ninja warriors, led by their wise, if sometimes grumpy, mentor Master Wu (Jackie Chan) and Lloyd (Dave Franco): estranged son of Lord Garmadon, who is determined to stop his dad and his evildoing ways. You can check out a higher-resolution version of the previously-released Lord Garmadon image from LEGO Ninjago Movie below, along with brand-new pics of Master Wu and Lloyd alongside his team of fellow teen ninjas: Kai (Michael Peña), Zane (Zach Woods), Cole (Fred Armisen), Jay (Kumail Nanjiani) and Nya (Abbi Jacobson).
One of the most admirable defining characteristics of the LEGO Movie universe so far - besides being playful in the way it spoofs and pokes fun at genre conventions and/or pop culture - is that it focuses less on stories about heroes defeating their enemies through sheer force; and more about heroes helping villains to defeat their own demons (and vice versa). Much like The LEGO Movie provides its villain, Lord Business, with a redemption arc and The LEGO Batman Movie is foremost about Batman learning to get along with others, Theroux says The LEGO Ninjago Movie is about Lloyd's personal journey to finding peace with his father - and himself:
“It’s about a son having to live with this father who’s a threat to Lego-manity (but) more about the son’s journey of forgiving him and learning to accept him for who he is...I think [Lord Garmadon] suffered a series of slights and cuts over the course of his life when people question his narcissism, so it’s made him more and more evil as a result.”
The LEGO Movie was celebrated having more heart and substance than most filmgoers expected headed in and it sounds as though LEGO Ninjago Movie may yet uphold that standard, if Theroux is to be believed. That's not to say the film won't have the other elements that audiences seemed to enjoy most about the first LEGO film; including, wry humor for both kids and adults - see Lord Garmadon frequently asking Lloyd if his ex-wife Koko (Olivia Munn) is seeing anyone - and fun LEGO-style action sequences. In fact, the latter could prove to be pretty impressive, as Chan's stunt team actually filmed The LEGO Ninjago Movie's martial arts fights in live-action, before they were then animated over.
Source: USA Today
- The LEGO Batman Movie (2017) release date: Feb 10, 2017
- The LEGO Ninjago Movie (2017) release date: Sep 22, 2017
- The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part (2019) release date: Feb 08, 2019