Film Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out ofthe Shadows

Having been pleasantly surprised by 2014’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot, MWF and I decided to check out this sequel.

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It’s been a couple of years since the heroes in a half shell saved New York from Shredder (Brian Tee). However, to maintain their secret the credit has gone to Vern Fenwick (Will Arnett), who has become a celebrity, which irks them slightly.

Their reporter friend April O’Neill (Megan Fox) finds a link between a scientist, Baxter Stockman (Tyler Perry) and the Foot Clan and that there is a plan afoot to break Shredder out while he is being transported. The Turtles try to stop the ambush, but Shredder is teleported out.

Prisons officer Casey Jones (Stephen Amell) is knocked out by the other escapees Bebop and Rocksteady (Gary Anthony Williams and Sheamus respectively). Later, his version of events is not believed and he sets out to bring them to justice.

Shredder it turns out was transported to another dimension where he meets an alien named Krang (voiced by Brad Garrett) who enlists his help in gathering pieces of a device that will enable his warship to teleport to Earth and they will rule the world together (cue evil laugh). To aid Shredder against the Turtles Krang gives him a substance which can make supersoldiers, unleashing the animal within.

This is used to make Bepop and Rocksteady into animal-human mutants. April, witnessing their transformation, steals the substance and flees, pursued by ninjas. Casey Jones, who has tracked the criminal duo via their phone rescues her and meets the Turtles, and realising they have similar goals they unite.

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April in trouble

Donatello discovers that the substance could turn them human, enabling them to live normal lives which causes tension among the brothers. Can they get over their difficulties and stop Shredder before Krang’s ship arrives?

Here’s the thing, I remember Krang from the kids show back in the day, and he kinda worked there but he is the weak spot here. While his voice is done well and his ship impressive, there are a few missteps. Firstly, Shredder just blindly agrees to team up far too quickly and in order to get cheap gross gags they have Krang leave his robot body a lot, which kinda makes having it pointless.

Aside from this the movie works, being quite dumb but very entertaining. This is because of some crazy OTT action sequences, plenty of visual gags and a constant stream of quips, particularly from Noel Fisher’s Michelangelo, who is comedy gold the most likeable of the foursome his goofball antics are bound to be popular with kids.

His desire for a normal life and to go above ground is quite well handled, especially when he reacts to a negative response from people they encounter. The argument over whether they should stay as they are or transform is an interesting touch, even if the outcome is obvious early on (Don’t hold your breath for Teenage Ninja Humans, folks).

Personally my favourite is Raphael, the group’s hulking badass and the conflict between him and Leonardo is handled well, with fault in both sides and the group’s leader losing his way, even if the theme of teamwork and embracing all the members’ differences feels a bit tired.

The human performances are simple, underwritten stuff and largely dull, with the exception being Will Arnett who is reliably funny as Fenwick, playing the vain, cowardly character with real humour.

Amell does well as Casey Jones and is likeable, even if the role is rather simple- a dumb, but well meaning, jock.

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Megan Fox is never stretched and is subject to a lingering, voyeuristic shot which is a little sleazy for what is a kid’s film.

The weakest is Tyler Perry as Stockman, who just plays every nerdy stereotype he can think of.

I liked the introduction of Bepop and Rocksteady as the two meatheads. They look kinda good and are entertaining and provide the Turtles with a fair fight (the Foot clan ninjas are rather easily dispatched) so this at least changes things up.

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And a sequence aboard a plane is capped by a hilarious miscalculation by the villains, which the others respond to brilliantly.

While it has flaws and treads a lot of the same ground as the first, it somehow works because the pace never lets up and it embraces it’s goofy, cheesy roots. The action sequences are well handled and I found myself laughing a lot, and while it’s dumb and clichéd, you don’t really expect more from the Turtles and this is a genuinely entertaining movie.

But perhaps this is where we should leave it? A third might be a bridge too far.

Verdict: Loud and dumb, but very fun, carried off well by the speed at which it develops and the central characters. The new villains introduced are a mixed bag, but on the whole the movie works as a goofy blockbuster. 7/10.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.

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5 Comments on “Film Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out ofthe Shadows”

  1. themadgayman says:

    I didn’t have interest in the reboot, so I never saw it. I don’t have any interest in this sequel. I enjoy the rebooted horror films Michael Bay has a hand in (Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street), but I don’t have any interest beyond Transformers 1-3, but only because I feel Shia LeBeouf played a somewhat likable, relatable character.

    • chrisebpage says:

      I haven’t seen those horror remakes. I was tempted by the Elm Street one as liked the originals and interested by how they would do the dream sequences, might check it out.
      Was a fan of the first Transformers but lost patience with sequels. I gotta admit been a LeBeouf fan since Even Stevens and think he’s an alright actor but seems a weird dude. Thanks for the feedback and for reading.

  2. atthematinee says:

    Nice review, have you written posts on any movie sites before? 🙂


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