Surpassing the first film in every way, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows is in no way a masterpiece but it’s a much needed breathe of fresh air.
When it was announced that a reboot of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was taking place, I was skeptical. Then Michael Bay was involved. That didn’t help. Needless to say, I just was not impressed with the way they were choosing to bring these iconic characters to life. The film itself was more of an April O’Neil story than a turtle’s story, and Megan Fox isn’t what I would call a capable actress. But the film made money, and here we are with Out of the Shadows, which is a massive improvement over the first film.
Picking up after the events of the first movie, the turtles – Leonardo (Pete Ploszek), Raphael (Alan Ritchson), Michelangelo (Noel Fisher), and Donatello (Jeremy Howard) – go about living their lives as unknowns during the day but heroes at night. Fearing that they wouldn’t be accepted no matter what good they do, the turtles choose to live in the shadows which means they don’t get the credit they feel they deserve. Because of this, the credit for taking down Shredder (Brian Tee) from the first movies goes to Vern Fenwick (Will Arnett), who takes all the attention in stride.
April O’Neil (Megan Fox) is following a lead, believing that T.C.R.I scientist Dr. Baxter Stockman (Tyler Perry) is working with the Shredder and the Foot Clan to help Shredder escape from police custody. Escorting Shredder, policeman Casey Jones (Stephen Amell) finds himself overmatched when the Foot Clan go on and ambush the motorcade. The turtles arrive in time to help and are able to foil the plans, but Stockman is able to teleport Shredder to safety, where Shredder is intercepted by Krang (Brad Garrett). Krang sets Shredder up on a mission: obtain the three pieces of his device so his ship, the Technodrome, to prepare for his invasion of earth. In return, Krang gives Shredder a vial that will help Shredder defeat the turtles once and for all.
There really is no stand out performer when it comes to the cast. Megan Fox…you know what you’re getting. Will Arnett is over the top and ridiculous, but with the way Vern is being developed it works. The biggest addition, Stephen Amell, works with the Casey Jones put on the script. He’s given the room to develop and grow in his character, and that’s a progression that we see a bit but should expect more of in the future. When it comes down to it, the main characters will always be the turtles. Screenwriters Andre Nemec and Josh Appelbaum give the turtles a voice, they give them emotions, needs, wants; these are turtles who just want to live a normal human life.
In no way is TMNT: Out of the Shadows a perfect movie. There’s a lot that felt off putting and that more mature audiences will find to be immature. But when it comes down to it, David Green has proven to be the perfect voice for the future of this franchise. His ability to handle the Turtles as maturing characters, introduce new characters to the fold, and to he able to reinvent characters from the previous movie is a feat in itself. Where TMNT will ultimately thrive though is bringing that feeling of nostalgia that the first film missed so much. Green is able to capture the essence of these characters that people grew up with, and in the process makes a pretty decent Turtles movie, one to most definitely be proud of.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadow is directed by David Green, written by Josh Appelbaum and Andre Nemec, and stars Megan Fox, Stephen Amell, Will Arnett, Brian Tee, Tyler Perry, Brittany Ishibashi, Gary Anthony Williams, Stephen Farrelly, and Laura Linney. TMNT: Out of the Shadows will be in theaters June 3, 2016.