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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows Review

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2014’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot had a target on its back from the very start. Not just because it was a beloved franchise with a fanbase as rabid as DC or Marvels, but because of one man attached as producer: Michael Bay. Yes, the Bay hate extends to him even putting his name to something, and yes, the original idea of having the shell-tactic foursome re-imagined as aliens could have been all kinds of stupid, but it didn’t deserve the amount of Internet bile aimed at it. A leaked draft of the script and the new look turtles being musclebound lugs only furthered fanned the hate, but when the final product finally hit our screens, it was far from the mess people anticipated. Not that it was perfect, several course corrections brought about by the early criticism left the story muddled and full of holes, but the tone of the turtles was spot on, and that seemed to be enough for most people. Now, Out of the Shadows comes our way for another bite of the TMNT reboot apple, and not only does it pave over the first movies problems and provide plenty to keep the fans happy, it also delivers what feels like this year’s first real Summer blockbuster.


Even after saving New York City from Shredder (here recast with Brian Tee), the turtles still hide from the people of the city, fearful that they won’t be accepted. When Shredder is broken out of jail, and hatches a plan with inter dimensional warlord Krang (Brad Garrett providing voice work as opposed to the previously reported Fred Arminsen) to take over the world, the four mutant brothers must leap into action alongside April O’Neil (Megan Fox), Vern Fenwick (Will Arnett), and new ally, the hockey masked vigilante Casey Jones (Stephen Amell). But Shredder isn’t without some new blood either, throwing mutant warthog and rhino Bebop (Gary Anthony Williams) and Rocksteady (WWE superstar Sheamus) at our heroes.

The brief synopsis above sums up the story quite nicely, and if we’re gonna nitpick, the story is where the movie stumbles. Krang literally comes out of nowhere, and the willingness of Shredder to agree to side with the “piece of chewed gum with a face” makes no sense whatsoever. And some of the t’twists’ shouldn’t be even called that. But trying to find sense in a movie where a humanoid rhinoceros pilots a tank down a raging river or a giant spaceship builds itself in the skies above the Big Apple kind of misses the point. This isn’t meant to reward investment like the MCU or grow up established icons like Batman v Superman. What director Dave Green (Earth to Echo) aims to do with Out of the Shadows is be entertaining and fun, and he does so spectacularly well. From the opening frame it moves along with an energy all its own, and barring one speed bump in the middle, it doesn’t let up until the closing credits. While the designs from the original that some fans still have no truck with have been kept, they are much more refined here, less busy while still giving each turtle their own individual look, while the motion capture and voice work of Pete Ploszek (Leonardo), Alan Ritchson (Raphael), Jeremy Howard (Donatello), and Noel Fisher (Michelangelo) again go a long way to giving each of the four leads their own personality. The speed and fluidity of which they move and interact with the real world is a credit to stellar visual effects work of ILM, and there is no shortage of set pieces for them to work their magic, a mid air heist being the standout.


But as amazing as the main foursome are, they are blown out of the water by the scene stealing double act that is Bebop and Rocksteady. Williams and Sheamus have an unbelievable chemistry that transcends visual effects, and any time they are on screen everyone else should just leave, because you will only be paying attention to them. Their character designs are flawless, chock full of little details that adds to their personality. Same goes for Krang, a mucus covered, disgusting pink ball given oodles of personality by Garret’s booming voice. The rest of the cast hold their own, with Fox and Arnett picking up exactly where they left off, and while Amell may be recycling his Arrow schtick from t.v., it totally works and he makes for a charming Casey Jones. The large cast of fan favourites also leads to another problem for the movie, with Green not really finding the perfect balance and leading to characters being missing for large chunks of time and only brought back for the finale. This is the faith of Tee’s Shredder and Tyler Perry’s Baxter Stockman, which is a shame, with Perry especially being fantastic in the role of the mad scientist.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows is the perfect Summer blockbuster: big, loud, silly and bucket loads of fun, that will delight newcomers while giving long time fans plenty to shout ‘cowabunga’ over.






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The Movie Bit: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows Review
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