Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows

Starring: Megan Fox, Stephen Amell, Will Arnett, Laura Linney, Tyler Perry, and Brian Tee.
Featuring Motion Capture/Voice Over Work From: Alan Ritchson, Noel Fisher, Pete Ploszek, Jeremy Howard, Gary Anthony Williams, Stephen Farrelly, Brad Garrett
Directed By: Dave Green

The first Michael Bay version of Ninja Turtles was a mixed bag depending on where you come from. I grew up with Ninja Turtles. I watched the cartoon, read some comics, owned a bunch of action figures. I even remember owning Baxter Stockman when he was turned into some fly/mosquito monstrosity. So, as a fan, when I found out this would be the film debut of Bebop, Rocksteady, Krang, and Baxter Stockman… I was on board. I didn’t hate the first film either, which probably helped my anticipation for this sequel.

This film tries to bring a lot more to the table in terms of page-to-screen concepts from the comic book and original TV show. I was really impressed with how they just introduced Krang, and hoped we’d all take the leap of faith with them. Other directors would have gone some dark reboot with Krang, and tried to explain how he exists. This film just hits us with Krang, and doesn’t apologize for it. He’s a giant brain inside a humanistic robot. It’s a lot for non-fans to swallow, but for fans who already know who Krang is, we didn’t need an explanation, and I appreciate that they didn’t waste time.

However, Baxter’s explanation of how Bebop and Rocksteady evolve was just bad writing. It was attempted exposition, and if they’re going to attempt it, it should make some sense. It didn’t. I enjoyed Casey Jones’s backstory here more than I did in the 90’s movies. It made a lot more sense, even if his donning a hockey mask made less sense. And also, the hockey mask was an afterthought. One scene, and then done. Afterward, he’s not afraid showing his face. Megan Fox has somehow turned April O’Neill into a useful character, instead of a helpless heroine that is always getting captured. Good for her. Tyler Perry as Baxter was a huge letdown. He’s too hammy, which says a lot for a film that is as cheesy as they come.

But, Bebop and Rocksteady were really fun. The subplot where Mikey and Raphael were toying with the idea of being human worked well with the plot. The visual effects were fine. Bonus points to the song in the end credits that hit the nostalgia part in my brain at full blast. A blend of the original TV theme song and “go ninja go ninja go” was totally unexpected, but welcome.

Overall, if you actually enjoyed the first film, you’ll enjoy the sequel. In fact, if you didn’t really enjoy the first film, you might actually enjoy this film more. You’ll have to forgive the script a bit in order to do so, but if you shut your brain off and remember this is a Michael Bay produced film starring Megan Fox being released by Nickelodeon studios, and not something trying to win an Oscar, then you might have some fun. And if you’re going because of your kids, there are much worse ways to spend two hours.

I’d say I remain hopeful for a third, but the box office on the second isn’t making me feel like a third is even being discussed at this point.

FINAL GRADE: B

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