Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows

The sequel to 2014’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reunites our favourite renaissance painter named reptiles in their fight to protect New York City from an assortment of colourfully weird bad guys.

A year on from the events of the last movie the turtles, Leonardo (Pete Ploszek), Rafael (Alan Ritchson), Donatello (Jeremy Howard) and Michelangelo (Noel Fisher) are struggling to maintain their need to “live in the shadows” and as such are beginning to fracture as a team. Meanwhile Baxter Stockman (Tyler Perry) organises a jailbreak to free the Shredder (Brian Tee) who is then sent through a portal and meets the alien warlord Commander Krang (Brad Garrett) who makes an alliance with Shredder to help him conquer the world. He gives the Shredder purple ooze which he uses to transform the criminals Bebop (Gary Anthony Williams) and Rocksteady (Sheamus) into a Warthog and Rhinoceros respectively. The turtles, with the assistance of corrections officer Casey Jones (Stephen Amell) and the returning April O’Neil (Megan Fox) and Vern Fenwick (Will Arnett) must unite to defeat these numerous threats.

A lot of fan favourite characters have been introduced in this adaptation with Krang, Rocksteady, Bebop, Baxter Stockman, Kirai and Casey Jones all appearing in this sequel with a range of success. Despite wanting to approach this feature with a positive attitude I felt like the film struggled to balance its excessive storylines into a coherent, functioning narrative. I’m not saying that I was unwilling to overlook the more absurd story aspects. 10 minutes into the film the Turtles modded out Garbage Truck turns out to have a pair of giant nun chucks weaponised onto its sides and I was happy to put my lateral mind to one side in favour of enjoying a light-minded action film. However just because you can overlook the movies unbelievable amount of tech gobbledegook explaining why you can turn two men into a Warthog and a Rhino it doesn’t mean you will enjoy the shallowly layered characters, poorly written dialogue exchanges or the exposition so mountainous you could drop it Southern France and turn it into a ski resort. Of the new characters introduced only Bebop and Rocksteady fulfil any real purpose both managing to be fleetingly entertaining at times, the same cannot be said of Stephen Amell as Casey Jones who is sadly something of a charisma vacuum in this film, whilst Tyler Perry’s bumbling scientist is supposed to be humorously irritating but only achieves the latter. I say these things not as slights against the performers, sometimes the meshing of material and actor simply doesn’t conspire to anything and this is one of those occasions. Krang is introduced as the criminal mastermind of the film but in the end he undercuts Shredder (Who had been functioning as the main villain of the movie) and is a boring final boss fight for the protagonists to overcome screaming about how much he is going to love conquering the world and enslaving the populace. I don’t desire every blockbuster villain to be as well characterised as Shylock collecting a pound of flesh but it would have been nice to have, well, anything of interest really. Megan Fox is able if not outstanding; Will Arnett is passably pleasing as a comic foil whilst the turtles manage be just about intriguing enough to stop the film from falling into true awfulness.

Basically if you liked the first film then there may be some enjoyment to be had but with what else is currently on offer at the cinema it might be wise to skip this venture. On the surface there is plenty of loud boisterous SFX and performances but it’s lacking in any real depth. Like a puddle on a rainy day it might be fun to have a quick jump in but if you tried leaping off a 10M diving board into it you might find yourself regretting the experience.

2/5

Review by Alexander Halsall

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