Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows (“TMNT 2”), a science-fiction, action, comedy film directed by Dave Green, is the sequel to the 2014 reboot of the original film series and features live action versions of the popular 80s comic book and cartoon characters, Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello and Michelangelo. Together, these four make up the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (“the turtles”), a group of teenage anthropomorphic turtles trained in the art of ninjutsu and who fight crime in New York City while hiding in the shadows (or more crudely, in the sewers) to keep their existence hidden from a society who fear differences.
Having defeated the villain Shredder (played by Brian Tee) in the previous film, the four turtle brothers continue living their lives out in the sewers in New York City, while Vern Fenwick(played by Will Arnett) takes credit for saving the city, receiving accolades galore for his “heroics”. However, all is not well for long as a rescue attempt is ordered by scientist, Baxter Stockman (played by Tyler Perry) and the turtles are alerted of the attempt by April O’Neil (played by Megan Fox).
The rescue to break Shredder out of captivity takes place under corrections officer, Casey Jones’ (played by Arrow hottie, Stephen Amell) watch during a prison transfer which results in amazing visuals of explosions and gunfire as well as my first introduction to the garbage truck turned epic hero vehicle, the Turtle Van. Shredder is rescued by way of a teleportation device and is teleported to a multi-dimensional universe led by the alien invader, It is here that the film’s main plot begins to develop as Krang enlists Shredder’s help to conquer the world and in return he would provide Shredder the ultimate revenge, the mechanism to destroy the turtles once and for all.
I’ll admit, I was never a fan of the turtles growing up in the 90s. The cartoons and comic books didn’t quite appeal to me. As far as I recall the only Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles related thing I enjoyed was my knock off version of the classic Nintendo game. Naturally, when the reboot film released in 2014, I didn’t bother rushing to the cinemas to watch it. Only when my good friends at Paramount Pictures started promoting TMNT 2 and sent some promotional information my way did I begin taking an interest in watching the film. To be very honest, the real pull with watching TMNT 2 was Stephen Amell, who c’mon ladies let’s be honest, is an absolute babe and does a fantastic job on Arrow.
TMNT 2 had a solid, spoiler free trailer which set me up for the great experience I received when it came to watching the film. The turtles were incredible. I did not expect them to act as brothers or as family at all. To watch these mutant heroes suffer from the same emotions that we humans experience made the film more relatable. Each of the four brothers had unique and very different personalities which led to both heartfelt and hilarious moments. Leonardo took his position as leader and the oldest very seriously; Raphael was all muscle; Donatello was all brains; and Michelangelo (‘Mikey’ as he claims the girls like to call him) was hilarious and rather childish.
The turtles themselves were not the only characters that made an impression on me. Megan Fox’s character April O’Neil was not at all ditsy and was actually rather kickass; Stephen Amell played a rather clueless corrections officer very well (a marked change from the serious and dark role he is used to on Arrow) and most of all, the villains were a hoot. I never really liked the WWE wrestler Sheamus but his acting skills came out rather nicely as Rocksteady. Together, Bebop and Rocksteady both tickled and annoyed me with their ridiculous, neanderthal antics. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say “my man” more than those two clowns.
As far as plot goes, for a film such as TMNT 2, the story was rather intriguing, especially with the concept of the turtles hiding away from society while Vern gets the glory. The family aspect of the film was a big selling point for me as well as the awesomeness of the graphics and visuals used in the film. The entire film was crisp, clear and so easy on the eyes. Action sequences weren’t too fast moving, the explosions and violence in the film were executed perfectly and the turtles actually looked rather realistic as mutated turtle ninjas.
Whilst there are several pros to watching TMNT2, the only downside that I personally found with the film, was its ending. Right from his introduction, I wasn’t fully convinced of Krang being a supervillain that the world should feel threatened by. Instead, he was just a robot with what looked like chewed gum, which hung off the robot, as his actual body. Unsightly as it was, Krang didn’t look very evil and despite having a rather good plan to invade and destroy the world, it just wasn’t believable. Shredder too lacked any real villainous qualities, rather, he was a character that simply looked menacing but simply got others to do his dirty work.
TMNT 2 definitely changed my opinion about the film series as a whole and I thoroughly enjoyed sitting through the film. However, having good characters, great visuals and a solid story just isn’t enough sometimes. I would have preferred a much better ending, one that was properly thought out and not rushed. With this film, one would think that all the build up in the plot was unnecessary as there was no real struggle for the turtles. The moment that defined them as brothers and as a team seemed much too forced.
However, all in all, TMNT 2 was enjoyable and I’m really grateful to have been given the opportunity to have attended the premiere of the film. Now that the film has been released in New Zealand, I urge you give it a shot and watch it with your friends and/or loved ones. I can guarantee that you’ll come out having laughed at least once during the screening.