Whoa, dudes! Check out Our Review [WITH SPOILERS] of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows!
The film some fans have been excited for and others were dreading is finally here. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows was practically judged before it was even released – much like the first one – but I would say this sequel is a much welcomed improvement. In my opinion, it’s actually a lot of fun.
Let’s get some of the negatives out of the way first, shall we? First off, the film sometimes suffers from too many characters in the mix. It’s weird too, because for all the new additions, we spend more time on Bebop and Rocksteady than most of the other villains. Because of this, the buildup for seeing some of these characters is off; the worst of it being Krang who pretty much shows up out of nowhere and dumps a lot of exposition on the viewer very quickly.
Then there’s Shedder (played by Brian Tee this time), who pretty much had no point in being there because he barely did anything. He mostly just stood around and talked menacingly in every scene he was in, and then when it looked like he was about to do something, they got rid of him. It’s sad, too, because this part could’ve easily been fixed. They could’ve made it that Baxter Stockman accidentally found Krang, who convinced him to build the portal device and gave him the means to make Bebop and Rocksteady mutants. If they did that, you’d have the same effect and you could take out all of Shredder’s scenes to focus more on the story, but sadly, that’s not what we got.
Vernon was also super-annoying in this movie. In the last one he was tolerable, but in this one he was super-obnoxious thanks to his now bloated ego. This made me kind of sad too, because I think Will Arnett is a really funny actor, but he’s not really given anything to strengthen his character. He just came off as unlikable and wasted time in the movie.
The biggest problem in this movie is the story, which is a bit of a mess. A lot of things just kind of happen for no real reason. Donatello can track down Bebop and Rocksteady no matter where they are, Shredder just instantly decides to work for Krang, and everyone somehow believes Vernon could beat Shredder by himself. These are all examples of things that happen in the movie because they can. The most disappointing bit of randomness is the purple ooze subplot, where the turtles discover a way to possibly become human. Throughout the film, this subplot provides a lot of interesting interactions between the turtles – besides being an interesting idea to play around with – but they resolve it so quickly that it’s really a letdown. This could’ve gone somewhere new and intriguing that the TMNT franchise has never gone to before, but much like a lot of the plot, it felt rushed.
Despite all its shortcomings, there is actually a lot to like about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows. For starters, the turtles themselves were very well portrayed (Jeremy Howard, Noel Fisher, Alan Ritchson, and Pete Ploszek do an amazing job in both voice acting and motion capture). This time it felt like they were given more time to shine since they were front and center for a lot of the movie – fixing the biggest problem from the last installment – and it really pays off. We get just enough of each turtle to understand their personalities and character and it never feels like one is more focused on than the others. The CGI is also more refined his time, which definitely makes them easier to look at compared to last time (though I still have no idea how Donatello can find prescription lenses in the sewer).
A lot of the new characters they added were also fun. Stephen Amell as Casey Jones was a nice addition (though I would’ve liked to see him do more) and Krang (voiced by Brad Garrett) felt like an appropriate threat when he started to put together the Technodrome. By far, the best new additions were Bebop and Rocksteady. Every time those two were on screen I smiled ear to ear; they were funny; they were a legitimate challenge for the turtles to face, and just watching their bromance was really entertaining.
The action scenes in this movie were also really good; the filmmakers took full advantage of each location they were in and made sure each one was unique so they wouldn’t get stale. What really ties all of these aspects together is the cast. Everyone seems like they’re energized and just having fun being there and that, in turn, gives you this nice feeling while watching the film. It’s like you’ve been invited to a big party and you’re just having fun being around familiar faces. Seeing them all like that also makes it feel like more effort was put into this film, and that they’re all trying their hardest to make the movie enjoyable to watch (Laura Linney in particular has a great performance thanks to this). In this regard, the movie succeeds.
So, is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows a great movie? Well, not really. It has its fair share of problems and sometimes suffers from being too much like the cartoon at times. Does that mean it’s a bad movie? No way! It’s far better than the last film, successfully fixing the issues from that movie and replacing them with things fans have always wanted to see. At the end of the day, Out of the Shadows just wants to be a fun (but occasionally dumb) action movie and that’s exactly what it is. TMNT fans will definitely love it for all the fan service, but it may be a harder sell for those unfamiliar with Ninja Turtles. I say give it a chance; there’s plenty of charm, humor, and awesome ninja action in this movie to keep your attention!