Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows – Half a Shell Better Than The Last
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014) was one o the most disappointing films I’ve seen in the past few years. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows is a marked improvement on its predecessor. It’s far from a masterpiece, in fact it’s barely satisfying, but an improvement it is.
The biggest problem I see here is the movie’s uncertainty as to what kind of film it wants to be. It’s obviously aimed at a younger audience, but also makes a play for adults (presumably those that grew up with the Turtles), but doesn’t quite manage to successfully hit either group. For the most part it’s just too silly for older audiences, but occasionally takes itself a little too seriously, which makes for some cringe worthy moments.
I was looking forward to seeing the introduction of Rocksteady (Stephen Farrelly) and Bebop (Gary Anthony Williams), two old favourites from the cartoon series and video games, and whilst they are somewhat amusing, often-times they provide more annoyance than entertainment. Krang (voiced by Brad Garrett) makes a nice introduction, but Shredder (Brian Tee) doesn’t quite fit the bill here, as he generally comes across as far too serious in a movie that is anything but. This was a problem I also found with the first film.
Stephen Amell is good as Casey Jones, though again the character struggles to find consistency, one moment being a highly skilled crime fighter with multiple tricks up his sleeve, the next coming across as a teenager at a frat party. There is also meant to be an obvious attraction between Casey and the Turtles number one human connection, April O’Neil (Megan Fox), but unfortunately there is zero chemistry between Fox and Amell.
Probably the best scenes in the film belong to Will Arnett, who returns as Vernon Fenwick. He somehow manages to be funny, smarmy and self-centered, whilst never losing the dignity of the character and winding up as one of numerous heroes by the films climax. It is really Arnett and Amell who keep this movie ticking along when the yawns start threatening to strike.
As for the Turtles themselves? The action scenes are an improvement on their last outing, and the humour from them is certainly much better done this time. There’s still the typical angst from within the group that threatens to split them apart, but f course they’ll pull it together by films end. They also interact brilliantly at times with Amell’s Casey Jones character, as he becomes the butt of much of their humour. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) this pretty much sidelines Megan Fox from doing anything but standing around crossing her arms, and at times you could almost hear her wishing the Transformers would take her back.
See it if you’re a Turtles fan. You’ll be disappointed, but it won’t be the worst thing you’ll see this year. If you’re not a Turtles fan? Give it a miss – and go see Warcraft instead.