Critics may not have quite embraced the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie reboot but it nevertheless had enough Turtle Power to guarantee this sequel which sees our heroes in a half shell take on more larger-than-life baddies.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows makes a genuine attempt to bring to life familiar characters from the comics and cartoons, which is very refreshing. By playing the classic theme song during the end credits and introducing the likes of Bebop & Rocksteady, Krang, Casey Jones and Baxter Stockman, this movie certainly earns some big fan points. Some of these characters had never made it to the big screen so there's definitely something to be said about finally doing that for those nostalgic about the source material. If only the Transformers movies cared this much. The plot of this film sees Krang (voiced by Brad Garrett) influence Shredder, who has escaped from prison, to open a portal through which the Technodrome could come through. In the hope of destroying the turtles, The Shredder (Brian Tee) also uses purple ooze to create dimwitted mutants Bebop (Gary Anthony Williams) and Rocksteady (Sheamus).
The story sounds simple enough but this movie manages to make it look incredibly hard by throwing in countless unnecessary scenes and subplots including an entire sequence set in Brazil which could have easily been cut out despite the fact it includes the biggest and best-looking action scenes. Will Arnett overstays his welcome in this sequel as, with the newly introduced Casey Jones (Stephen Amell) already helping out April, there's really no need for him. Speaking of April O'Neil, once again Megan Fox butchers the role mercilessly clearly giving the part no thought past "Am I pouting enough in this scene?". In fact, she is given a lot more screen-time in this film and whenever she's talking, it's very tempting to just dash out of the theatre. She IS this franchise's Jar Jar Binks and replacing her with... an actress would improve those movies greatly.
Hint hint, Mr Bay.
Now to give the film some credit, the special effects, the action scenes and the 3D are all well done: you can tell this is an expensive blockbuster and the CGI is effective throughout. Out Of The Shadows is a far sillier, dumber film than the first and the whole thing gets pretty tiresome pretty quickly. The script is convoluted and it's packed with awful one-liners and jokes, the film itself throws pointless cameos your way every five minutes (basketball players, supermodels) because Michael Bay is producing this, don't you know? The Shredder is reduced to a moronic side character and he doesn't even wear his armour for most of the film and Tyler Perry's performance as Baxter Stockman is just bizarre and unfunny. The whole film is messily shot with the camera constantly moving and spinning, which can make the action sequences confusing at times and one would like to see a respected actress like Laura Linney stick to far better indie films, for her sake.
It may not be the worst thing you'll see at the cinema this year but TMNT: Out Of The Shadows is a strong contender for the dumbest. Most new additions work but Fox, Arnett and Shredder constantly drag the film down. There's some welcome fan service in this movie but one wishes that more effort had been put into actually making the darn thing because, as it stands, the CGI characters make the human characters look fake and that's... frightening.
One for forgiving turtle fans only.