Hey gang, Valkor here. I wasn’t planning on covering this next film that’s on the TOV MediaView chopping block. But I figured: why not keep that superhero film flow going? Next up, the mean green machine aka the Ninja Turtles are back for their second big screen helping; I thought the first film had its moments and it wasn’t as terrible as I thought it would be. So, how does their latest film, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows”, fare by comparison? Let’s find out and be aware of spoilers.
“Out of the Shadows” takes place one year after the events of the first film; the Turtles – Leo, Mikey, Raph and Donnie, even though they’ve saved the city of New York, are still relegated to the shadows since they feel they won’t be accepted by humankind. So, Vern Fenwick (Will Arnett), as part of the turtles plan, stands at the forefront and is considered the one who saved the city of NY from The Shredder’s nefarious plot, which in turn helps to keep the turtle’s identity secret. The Shredder (Brian Tee) is now in custody and is about to be transported to a maximum security facility, with an assist from Casey Jones (Stephen Amell), who in this film, is a cop… who loves hockey. And Shredder isn't alone for this journey as two other inmates are also being transported to this facility – Bebop (Gary Anthony Williams) and Rocksteady (Sheamus). But unbeknownst to the cops, there’s a famed scientist named Baxter Stockman (Tyler Perry), who is not only in cahoots with Shredder but along with The Foot Clan, they look to break him out. However, thanks to the help of April O’Neil (Megan Fox), the Turtles are clued in on the escape plan and set forth to make sure Shredder doesn’t escape.
And yet, even after this highly climatic chase scene involving ninjas and the Turtle Wagon, Baxter Stockman is able to teleport Shredder away from the scene… only he doesn’t arrive at the designated area. Instead, Shredder is taken to Dimension X where we met Krang – a giant, talking, blob of a brain that gets around from the belly of a robotic exo-suit. Krang tells Shredder that it’s his technology that Stockman is using for teleportation. And that the device is one of three that Shredder must find in order for Krang to bring his war machine – the Technodrome – to earth so that he can take over the planet. Shredder informs Krang that obtaining the other two pieces won’t be easy and he’ll need something to aid him in taking out the Turtles. So Krang gives him a vial of ooze that’ll give Shredder the help he needs. And with that, he is returned to earth.
So the Turtles have a few dilemmas to deal with; for starters, now that Shredder is back on Earth, they’ll have try and stop him from collecting those three pieces, which won’t be easy now that he has the power of Bebop and Rocksteady, who are newly transformed thanks to the ooze given to him by Krang. Spoiler alert: they don’t succeed and Shredder is able to start the process of bringing over the Technodrome from Dimension X. And second, they’ll have to decide whether they want to go human or remain as turtles. Believe me, there’s so much going on in this film, it’ll make your head spin. There's even an "Ocean's 11-esque" scene where Raph and Mikey, along with April and Casey, try to steal the vial of ooze that's being held in a police station. So, is "Out of the Shadows" a worthy successor to the first flick?
The answer to my above question is a yes and a no, with the no being answered in the next section. “TMNT: Out of the Shadows” is not perfect but it is a fun and entertaining film, filled with loads of action and comedy throughout. The story is a bit all over the place, but it's not too difficult to follow. And fans of the series, both past, and present will find that there's a lot to enjoy, especially the antics of Bebop and Rocksteady - before and after their transformation. The two carry the bulk of the jokes (Mikey still wears the crown as funniest of them all), and while at times it might be somewhat immature, I still found myself cracking up. Toss in the introduction of Krang, Baxter Stockman, and Casey Jones, and you’re in for one heck of a good time. I like the action, though I think I enjoyed it more the first time around. I think it’s because the Turtles did most of the fighting, and they handed out beatdowns like candy on Halloween; in “Out of the Shadows” they’re not fighting The Foot every few minutes, but they do get into some heated situations such as the chase scene with the Turtle Wagon, or the foursome jumping from an airplane only to have it crash land into a river – I mean we’re talking pretty intense stuff here. As for the acting goes, I don’t really have any complaints in that department, but there weren’t any real standouts either. No biggie, as I thought all of the performances were well-rounded and even the newcomers did a pretty decent job. In the end “TMNT: Out of the Shadows” is the kind of over-the-top fun I can appreciate. And if you’re looking for some lazy afternoon fun, bonus if you’re a fan of TMNT, then this is one film worth checking out.
To me, while “Out of the Shadows” brings in a lot of new, it still feels like the first film; for starters the plot is disjointed, and by that I mean is the film about the Turtles or Shredder? Honestly, they could have killed the idea of the turtles wanting to become human and put more focus on their quest to find those missing pieces. When Krang brought that up, my interest was piqued and I thought for certain that is where the film was going, with the turtles splitting up in search for these items. Unfortunately, it doesn’t happen exactly that way and I was disappointed. Next up is Casey Jones, who I’m such a fan of the character, and I was looking forward to seeing him on the big screen once again. Plus he's played by Stephen Amell from "Arrow", so what could possibly go wrong? Well, the character is still cool, but I was disappointed that he only got to wear the mask once, and I was upset by the fact that he's barely audible when he wears it. Why waste time on such a detail, when it wasn't done in any of the previous incarnations of the character? The same can be said for Shredder, who we only see once in full costume at the end. Worse, he doesn’t get to do anything serious before Krang has him frozen and stored away for whenever. Lastly, I felt Krang’s introduction was a bit rushed – it just happened so quickly and we really don’t see him again until the film’s climax. It’s a bummer because Krang is such a cool and fun character – they even went old school on the design – and yet he’s totally wasted in this film. I could go on and on, but really… why bother?
“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows” is still making the theatrical rounds; and if you’ve been holding out on seeing it… then maybe hold out a little longer for the home release. That doesn’t mean you should pass it up on the big screen, because if you have any desire of checking it then do so by all means. Just don’t expect too much as this film is roughly more of the same as the first only not as hard hitting. So out of TOV 5 stars, I’m giving “TMNT: Out of the Shadows” the same as the first – 3.5.