Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows Movie Review
So the newest Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie has hit theaters…What’s the plot this time?
The Turtles must once again save New York City from an escaped Shredder. Not only that, but they must face off against the mutants Beebop and Rocksteady-characters that sound more than familiar to those who grew up with the 80s cartoon-and Baxter Stockman when they learn that the Shredder has teamed up with Stockman to bring a creature known as Krang to Earth. However, with rifts forming between the brothers, it’ll be harder than they thought to take out these new enemies.
….I don’t think I need to mention how simple this plot is right? Good. Now…
This movie….This freaking movie!
Good job David Green, Michael Bay and team.
Let’s get right to it cause there’s a lot to go over here.
- The TURTLES
- Like in the first film, the Turtles are phenomenal in this. While in the first film though, they felt like they just barely got them right, here….They’re legit characters. They watch basketball games-and I guess vehemently support the Knicks?-they fight, they argue, they have legit roles in their ragtag group. Not only that but you get a feeling for the first time who’s the oldest, second oldest, third oldest, and finally the youngest-that being Michelangelo. There’s a nice moment-not going to go into TOO many spoilers-where Mikey is in trouble, and all the turtles rally to save him, all exclaiming to never mess with their little brother. The tensions between the siblings felt real and was much better executed here than in the first, or even in the 2007 animated film. You empathize with their plight of not being able to go out in public for fearing what might happen, and their interactions with Splinter and April feel very much real-much more so than the first. Their CGI was also much better here. The first felt like it was really just testing the waters-seeing what they could and couldn’t get away with. Now that they’ve made money off the first, they clearly put that to use here. The Turtles are incredibly expressive, and the extreme close ups of their faces really allow you to see their detail this time since there’s not an ounce of shaky cam in this film.
- The ACTION
- ONCE AGAIN the action in this is just stellar. It’s few and far between, but the opening shot of the turtles doing their run through the city, the shots and angles and camera movement make it feel like we’re there at times with these guys. The highway chase scene is fun and enjoyable to watch. It’s here you get a first good look at how expressive these guys are now.
- There’s a replicated shot from the first film of them sliding on their shells through the sewers and it works. They use their huge size to their advantage here whereas in the first film it was just jarring to see them so huge. Here you’re not only used to it but expect them to use it and they do. The shots and angles during the airplane landing and subsequent fight within that cargo plane and going from that to the Amazon River in Brazil….I feel like them going to South America was also a callback to the 2007 film, in which Leo had gone to the Amazon to focus on his training….Anyways The action sequence here is like a solid 5-8 minutes long and none of it is wasted. It’s just as exciting as the mountain chase scene from the first film if not more so since this time they’re dealing with river rapids rather than gravity. And when the Turtles were forced under water not only was the image of them under water crystal clear but steady as well. It was a still shot. Now speaking of the cinematography…
- The CINEMATOGRAPHY
- Oh….My…GOD. I could gush about this for days. The sheer opening shot of the camera sweeping over NYC with the intro music feels big and bombastic, only for the moment to be playfully interrupted by the loveable turtles on patrol. After that fun moment-thanks to Michelangelo of course-they quickly get back to their nightly run. Rushing from the Chrysler Building straight down into the sewers; the camera steadily following them the whole time. There was not an OUNCE of shaky cam in this movie. Close ups of Donatello allowed us to see he added new gear-a cell on his shoulder and an upgraded Bo staff. While he still kept his electric ends, it looks like this time it’s made of metal rather than wood. The slow motion was used better here as well. While there was almost too much of it. There’s one amazing 360 shot-I’m not gonna say where lest I spoil it for you-and unlike the first film, there are actual still shots. When Mikey joins the Halloween parade and comes across a familiar figure from other Bay films, that’s a nice still. When they’re on the plane another still shot. When Leo was confiding with his master….a nice medium close up still shot of the two of them simply talking. It was a nice quiet moment between father and eldest son and we thankfully weren’t distracted by a constantly moving camera like in the first film. Overall the cinematography here was simply gorgeous to look at.
- The VISUAL EFFECTS….Sort of.
- This is sort of a mixed bag for me. One the one hand, the Turtles look much better than in the first film…they’re much more expressive, much more detailed, and thanks to the several still shots and close ups, we get to actually SEE that detail that went into these characters. Bebob and Rocksteady…are kind of jarring and off putting to look at. The portal effects were cool and different. Krang….GROSS. OMG WHAT THE HELL. Ugh.
- The MEGAN FOX
- Much like in the first film, Megan does a good job here. She’s clearly having fun with it, and her interactions with the brothers feels much more natural here than in the first film. She’s casually chilling with them in allies while Casey Jones-we’re gonna get to him-is freaking out, she laughs with them, she conspires with them, she looks like she’s right at home. While she’s much more in the background and a minor character here, she does contribute to the turtles and to the plot. To put it simply…she does more in this movie AND the first movie, than Lois Lane did in either Man of Steel or BvS. Oh yeah. I went there.
- The ACTING….Sort of.
- Again, another mixed bag. The Turtles’ actors (Pete Ploszek, Alan Ritchson, Noel Fisher, Jeremy Howard) all do a splendid job. Megan Fox, splendid job. Splinter’s actor (Tony Shalhoub) wonderful….COMPLETELY improved from his role as Splinter in the first film. Shredder was great, and even Vern was great and useful to the plot. The rest…eh. I didn’t like Tyler Perry as Stockman and I felt like Casey Jones-again we’re getting to him-was just THERE-his reaction to the Turtles felt more annoying than anything and I’m glad that the Turtles completely messed with him at first-and Laura Linney was also just kind of THERE.
- The MUSICAL SCORE
- Something I hardly comment on in film is the soundtrack. Either because I forget to, or because it was forgettable. This film’s score should be mentioned because Steve Jablonksy-a LONG time partner of Michael Bay-did an AMAZING job with this film’s score.The music for the most part really fit with each scene, adding to the scene as well as blending in and becoming part of the diegetic sounds rather than non-diegetic. Also some of the scores are just beautiful, big and bombastic.
So with all the praises I’m singing about the film, you’d think I think it’s damn near perfect right? Well….it’s not. It’s got some problems. Not as glaring as the first but…there’s problems. There’s gonna be a FEW spoilers in this so WARNING.
- The KRANG
- Here’s the thing…I’m not an 80s kid. I’m not a 90s kid. I’m a 2000s kid. I didn’t grow up with the 80s turtles or the 90s turtles but the 2003 turtles. That iteration is known for being among the darkest of iterations and darkest cartoons of its time. While it dealt with aliens called Utrom’s it never dealt with Krang. I was only introduced really to him through Turtles Forever….and WOW. He’s….he looked bad. He was annoying. I call BS that he was able to so easily overpower the turtles. I’m hoping he’s either done better in the third film, or just omitted entirely.
- The SHREDDER….Kind of.
- While the Shredder was great and menacing and wonderfully handled…he took a BACKSEAT to this KRANG GUY. From what I remember the Shredder was the Turtles’ ultimate enemy. They constantly have to try and stop him cause he keeps coming back. He shouldn’t have taken a backseat to anyone MUCH LESS this hideous gross brain looking thing.
- The CASEY JONES
- Ohhhhh maaaaan. This DUDE. Oh what a wasted character. Sure he does things like try and track down Beebop and Rocksteady, help April and Vern in the climax, and interact kind of with the turtles…but the Casey I know would’ve taken to the turtles pretty quickly after a nasty little run in with Raph. Rph and Casey have a lot in common, so it’s natural that they gravitate toward each other and become quick friends. Here….they’re not friends. They’re just allies. He’s there for the ride. He’s meant to be an audience avatar but we already have an audience avatar through the turtles and April. So he’s kind of useless.
This film is MILES AND MILES better than the first. They listened to the criticisms and thought “What can we do to improve?” the acting, the music, the turtles, the pacing, the interactions, the dialogue, it’s all well done. I only had a few gripes with this movie overall. There are problems with this, but unlike the first, they aren’t glaring, and almost easy to overlook. It knows what it is, and rolls with it. It’s silly, fun, serious, action packed, and filled with character growth. The stakes are higher here, and it does what a sequel should do; grow and expand the universe that’s set up in the first film. Grow and expand the characters. Add new characters. Make sure your characters have stuff to do. This film does all that. You know what you like though. You should know from the trailers and such if you’re going to like this film.
For me, it was an incredibly fun ride…..but it’s not perfect. I’m going to give it a 3.5/5 stars. Just above average but still really fun.
Comment Question: what was your favorite and least favorite part in this movie? Beware for potential spoilers in the comments.
Posted on June 4, 2016, in Reviews and tagged david green, film, Megan Fox, michael bay, movie review, out of the shadows, teenage mutant ninja turtles, TMNT, tmnt 2016. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.