Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows Review
Review by Josh Canales
Opening up on a joke that falls flat, this sequel to the 2014 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles does not do much to course-correct what made fans upset originally. What it does attempt to correct seems more lazy than anything. From Shredder’s new leather-clad suit to the overcompensation of humor, this movie is sorely lacking in the magic that made the turtles into the world renown heroes they are today. While being better than the previous film, this sequel attempted and failed to touch on the importance of familial and friendly ties. April O’Neil (Megan Fox) and Casey Jones (Stephen Amell) both felt forced into this movie simply because of their namesakes. Stephen Amell who has impressed many with his portrayal of beloved comic book hero, Green Arrow, was a highlight of the movie with his Casey interpretation. While being different for classic versions, Stephen’s Casey could’ve been one for the books if it weren’t for the weak writing. Casey is supposed to be an essential and well loved character of the TMNT mythos, but here we simply see an extra storyline that plays no part in the main story. The majority of the things that we see Casey and April go through, has next to no effect on the main story of the movie. They are here for star-power and sex appeal, These two iconic characters could’ve easily been erased from the entire movie.
A superhero is only as good as their villains, Out of the Shadows has no shortage on those. The movie is overrun by villains, all of whom are one-dimensional. Shredder and Krang are both power hungry but lack any real motive other than simply being bad guys. Shredder (Brian Tee), was a lackluster villain for the second time in this franchise, this time with a lot more leather. He does not feel like the intimidating, deadly ninja that he is. Krang (Brad Garrett), while exciting to see, also fell short of that successful villain mark. His motivations were even weak than Shredder’s are, but he at least looked great and just as ridiculous as any TMNT fan could hope for. Speaking of ridiculous villains, this movie brought us live action Baxter Stockman (Tyler Perry) for the first time. His character was a lot of fun to finally get to see on screen and has a lot of potential for fun stories in future movies, if they want to go the route of The Fly. Bebop (Gary Anthony Williams) and Rocksteady (Stephen Farrelly) were our final villains we get introduced to and they’re also the best. These two characters don’t need motivation to be bad guys, they easily manipulated criminals. When they get the chance to work with Shredder, they jump at it no matter the cost. Bebop and Rocksteady are so much fun on screen and brighten up the all-too-serious movie.
In 2016 CGI-based movies are more common than not and when the animation is lacking, it can really take the audience out of the movie. Being the second in a franchise, I had much higher expectations for the CGI than we got. In many scenes the turtles really stand out against practical backgrounds or live action people, disconnecting viewers with the story. These mediocre effects really makes one long for a good mix of practical effects and CG, like we are seeing in a lot of modern movies.
Watch it, but don’t rush out to see it. For a movie about four mutant turtles who practice ninjutsu, a man covered in spikes, and a talking brain in the stomach of a giant robot, it takes itself way too serious. The movie is fun, especially for long-time Ninja Turtle fans, but it is sorely lacking in more areas than one.