Everything is awesome when it comes to the LEGO series of movies! It’s kind of crazy that The LEGO Movie came out in 2014, and I only say that it’s crazy because I would think there would be way more LEGO movies by this point. In fact, after The LEGO Batman Movie’s great success, I thought there would be a whole Justice League worth of LEGO films. Like, where’s my LEGO Superman movie starring Channing Tatum? Where’s my LEGO Wonder Woman movie starring Cobie Smulders? Release the Snyder Cut? No way! I wanted the LEGO Cut!
In all seriousness though, I would say that the four LEGO movies that we got were pretty rock solid. Unfortunately, after the under-performance of The LEGO Ninjago Movie and The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part, it looks like we'll only be getting these four films from Warner Bros., as the brand was sold to Universal Studios. But, out of those four, which LEGO movie was the best? That’s actually a pretty tough choice since all four have reasons to put them at the top. Most notably the voice cast. Chris Pratt, Kumail Nanjiani, Tiffany Haddish, the list goes on and on of people who wanted to lend their voices to block people. So, which is the best movie? Well, I guess the only true limit to each film is creativity itself.
Oh, and minor spoilers up ahead.
4. The LEGO Ninjago Movie (2017)
By far the weakest LEGO Movie out of the four, The LEGO Ninjago Movie’s greatest fault may not be its storyline, which is fine (a son has an evil father, learns ninja powers with his friends, and reconciles with his father, the end). Its main problem is actually the fact that it loses something by not having the wild menagerie of characters who come with all the other LEGO movies. It’s like, if you have no idea what LEGO Ninjago is when you’re going into it, then you’re kind of just stuck with some oddball characters and the same irreverent humor that comes from any of the other LEGO movies or cartoon shows. In other words, it’s the least interesting of the four because it just feels so basic.
Again, that’s not saying it’s bad. Like all the LEGO movies, it is funny. But, it’s not sharp, and that’s another thing about The LEGO Ninjago Movie. It’s definitely the film that’s the most geared toward children. The jokes land, but they’re easy jokes, which again makes it feel like one of the many LEGO specials you can just as easily find on Netflix or Disney+. In addition, it’s probably the most action packed with the mech fights and the martial arts, but have you ever tried playing with LEGOs as if they were action figures? Yeah, it’s not the best, so it doesn’t look all that great on the big screen, either. A fine film with a nice message, but the least endearing of the four.
3. The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part (2019)
Is The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part as good as the first LEGO Movie? Well, obviously not since it’s lower on this list, but I definitely think it deserved to do better than it did at the box office. The second film has a lot more Duplo in it, which was teased at the end of the first movie, since it has a meta story in-between like in the original film, but this time, it’s dealing with the brother and the sister arguing all the time. The LEGO narrative just accompanies their sibling strife. As a father with two young kids who fight all the time, I find this plotline very relatable.
The second film would be higher on this list if the first movie didn’t exist. The storyline still feels fresh with the whole “Systar System,” but it seems like a lot of the jokes worked better in the first film. This movie is also a bit overstuffed with characters—though I do appreciate Jason Momoa voicing Aquaman, which technically makes The LEGO Movie 2 canon with the Snyderverse. Hee hee. But it’s a more is less situation with this movie. In the end, I love The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part. I just don’t love it as much as the first film.
2. The LEGO Batman Movie (2017)
The LEGO Batman Movie also came out in 2017, just like The LEGO Ninjago Movie, and the differences in quality are so vast, it’s almost staggering. Batman, voiced by Will Arnett, was just a small, but memorable part in the first LEGO Movie, so a lot could have gone wrong with giving him his own film. But by lovingly parodying not only Batman, but also comic books and entertainment in general, it makes The LEGO Batman Movie a LEGO film for the ages.
What makes this movie so good, is that while, yes, it is super zany (I especially like The Phantom Zone stuff where we get everything from Sauron to Gremlins spilling out of it), it’s also a really great Batman movie, in general, with one of the best Jokers ever in Zach Galifianakis. It’s self-referential, just like The Lego Movie, but in a way that almost rewards longtime fans of Batman. Plus, it’s just really funny and might even be the sharpest and funniest of all the LEGO movies. That said, I still don’t think it’s the best. That would be…
The LEGO Movie (2014)
What is it about The LEGO Movie that just works? Is it the characters? Yep. The story? Oh yeah. The music? Oh, yes, indeed. In fact, after watching it again just recently, that little twist toward the end with the real world still works extremely well, and do you know why? Because it actually feels organic to the story. Compare this to the second movie, which retreads the meta-narrative and feels somewhat forced, and you can tell why so many people fell in love with the first movie. It truly was one of a kind and original when it first came out, and it still feels that way today.
Yes, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller just got it completely right with that first film. Before The LEGO Movie, I really wouldn’t have believed that you could make a compelling narrative out of what are essentially building blocks, but by giving it heart, and lovable, endearing characters like Emmet and Wyldstyle, and great, great dialogue, it all just comes together in a way that could never be duplicated, no matter how hard they tried. And, they did indeed try hard.
What’s your favorite LEGO movie? Make your voice heard in the poll below. And, for more recent, 2021 movies, make sure to stop by often!