There’s only one place in the universe where everything is awesome: the Lego world. When Warner Bros. announced the idea of having a Lego movie, it wasn’t necessarily an original idea. People had been creating videos with Lego characters before that. However, when the film company released the first Lego movie in 2014, they had tapped into a different kind of movie energy that had never been done before. Soon enough, we were seeing spinoffs of all kinds. The Lego franchise produced both Lego Batman and Lego Ninjago, and a Lego sequel was also released. The success of the first film set a strong momentum for the franchise to take off on. According to Rotten Tomatoes, The Lego Movie scored a whopping 95% on the Tomatometer. There aren’t many films that could boast that.
When Lego Batman came out in 2017, what was done in the first Lego movie was somewhat solidified. The film industry was still at the height of the superhero genre, and Batman has always been a good sell no matter who’s selling. The New York Times basically said that the Lego version was better than the live action Batman film installment that came out just a year prior (Dawn of Justice). Most people would totally agree. The Lego Batman film gave light to the otherwise brooding character, and it even brought on other Batman favorites such as the Joker and Harley Quinn. The movie was certainly good for what it was, and anyone who dared dug deeper really shouldn’t have.
It was inevitable though. People break movies down as if we were all certified critics. Given their ratings, the Lego movies arguably should target the PG crowd. But many adults appreciate an innocent laugh from time to time—which the Lego movies do. But by the time the next Lego spinoff came out, the Ninjago movie, moviegoers were starting to throw darts at the screen. For one, not many people even knew what Ninjago was. But we could almost guarantee that the PG crowd did.
The Lego Company introduced the Lego Ninjago theme in 2011, and kids had been playing obsessively with Ninjago for a good amount of time before the film came out in 2017. Of course, the PG crowd loved The Lego Ninjago movie; they were practically the only ones that saw the film. It made sense to the younger crowd because they had known about Ninjago previously. Not many adults could say the same. Hence, the confusion and disengagement with the Ninjago film installment came out. The Telegraph called the movie “miserably bland,” reporting that the film dismissed many opportunities for comedy that could’ve been sourced from the long-running animated Ninjago series. The article also stated that Jackie Chan’s involvement in the project was all for show. Really, it wasn’t Jackie’s fault.
It seemed then that the Lego franchise was done for, but there were still die-hard fans that hoped and patiently waited for a reprieve. After all, The Lego Ninjago film might not have been the best, but it wasn’t terrible in a way that you couldn’t get some enjoyment out of it. If you couldn’t, at least someone under the age of 10 could. It’s one of those films that don’t really define the future of a franchise, and that point was proven in the fact that Warner Bros. decided to finally bring The Lego Movie sequel to life.
The problem with the sequel was glaring from the start. It had been too long already since we saw the characters from the original Lego film—5 years to be exact. The excitement that burned brightly over Chris Pratt’s everyman Lego character Emmet Brickowski had slowly settled down into embers over the years. By the time The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part came out in February of this year, people had already forgotten what Emmet and Lucy (voiced by Elizabeth Banks) were like.
One article from the Hollywood Reporter also stated that viewers more than likely suffered from franchise fatigue, a condition that is exactly what it sounds like. After seeing Lego Batman and Lego Ninjago back to back, having another Lego film seemed a bit too much. While Ninjago didn’t exactly tank at the Box Office, its performance was also quite underwhelming. Some believed the film wasn’t marketed properly. No matter what it was, it just didn’t do well enough to establish a decent momentum for Lego Movie 2.
By the time the second Lego film came out, people had already moved on. The Lego franchise has been great, and it even struck gold with video game releases and spinoffs and a ton of short film releases. The bottom line was this: not enough people went to watch the movie. Not many people were up to it really. There was no buzz about it. There was no pull. It became one of those films that just got lost into the releases of other more enticing films.
What does this mean for the franchise in general? Did Lego Movie 2 mark the end of an era in Lego’s legacy? Will that be it for Lego movies?
Everyone involved in the Lego movies, including the creators Phil Lord and Chris Miller, are all invested in the films and the characters. All of them are open to another film as long as the elements feel right. The fact that no one is saying a hard “no” to making a third Lego Movie is interesting, but it also doesn’t mean that the project will get a green light. Given the low success of the Lego Movie sequel, it comes as a surprise that the studio confirmed the production of not one but two new films. The first is a sequel to the highly successful Lego Batman film. But the second movie is completely new, and it’s going to be titled The Lego Brick Race. It’s a totally new story with new characters. We’re guessing the studio might want to ignite the Lego film franchise flame with a new approach. We think that the outcome of these two spinoff films will ultimately be the decision maker in the end. If they end up being successful, then we might see Lego Movie 3 moving forward. If not, then we could all just take our losses and enjoy what the franchise has already done for us.