Verdict: 2.5 / 5
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows is an improvement on the first, mainly due to the fact that it actually spends more of its focus on The Turtles. Thankfully, we see less of April O’ Neil and the relationships between the uninteresting human characters. You get to see the dynamic of the brothers and delve a little deeper into their personalities and the complexities that come with it.
Since defeating Shredder, The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have decided to return to the shadows. While protecting the city from the sewers, they have allowed Vernon Fenwick (Will Arnett) to take all the credit for saving New York from the evil Foot Clan. But when Shredder breaks free and teams up with an unknown evil mastermind, The Turtles have no choice but to come out of hiding in order to save humanity!
There is a definite rift in the team this time round as the brothers struggle to come to terms with society not wanting to accept them. What is more enjoyable about this movie is that it feels more like the original cartoon as it focuses on being fun as well. The inclusion of Bebop and Rocksteady make for some great humour. These hulking brainless brutes are only really included for the comic relief, even though Shredder thought that they would be of more use.
Shredder comes into contact with General Krang, an alien that wishes only to rule our world. Krang, unfortunately, does not add much to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows. His origin and motivations are left unknown to the viewer. All we really know are that he is an alien and all aliens want to do is invade Earth right? Sure, the Krang suit would have been ridiculous if they stuck with the original look, however, this film feels like you at least needed the original Krang voice to up the ante on the nostalgia.
Another notable inclusion is Casey Jones. This version of vigilante is played by Steve Amell of “Arrow” fame. Much like his stint as Oliver Queen, Steve’s acting is bland and not memorable. They try to give him a few moments to shine, but Amell’s acting is rather limited. Casey is unsparing and there is nothing about this character that will justify a relationship between Casey and April; the chemistry is just not there.
Shredder and Karai also receive a short end of the stick. Not only have they been recast, but they are not given a further back story.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows has one two saving graces really: great looking action sequences and a great chemistry between the protagonists. This is what makes it ever so slightly better than the first film.
At times, this truly feels like the 1987 cartoon. Although there is a lot more humour, Raphael has his darker moments which fit with the current Nickelodeon TMNT cartoon. The Turtles also look better and, thanks to an improved motion capture system, their movements look more realistic.
Again, while Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows is an improvement on the first, the improvements remain rather underwhelming and the humour can feel a bit forced, especially if it involves Mikey. He becomes annoying quite quickly.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows is what it is. It tries to send a message about accepting who you are but offers little more than that. It is a popcorn movie with some great moments, especially for die-hard fans of the franchise.
If it’s escapism and action that you want this movie is worth a watch.