The villainous Shredder has teamed up with mad scientist Baxter Stockmann, mutant criminals Bebop and Rocksteady and the intergalactic Commander Krang to bring a weapon to Earth and take over the world, and only the Turtles can stop them.
The reboot of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles back in 2014 was a bit of a swing and a miss, the film took itself too seriously and failed to focus on the Turtles as much as it should have done, but this sequel by director Dave Green (Earth To Echo) fully embraces the ridiculousness of it's source material and doesn't hold back.
The Turtles saved New York City from Shredder but received none of the gratification, due to them fearing how humanity may react to them. They remain in the shadows; watching and waiting for their time to save the city once again. Shredder escapes custody and is recruited by Krang, an alien who is obsessed with taking over planet Earth. This is easily the film's biggest weakness, Krang literally comes out of nowhere, Shredder is somehow teleported onto Krang's ship with no explanation and just agrees to help the brain looking alien take over the world, it's a completely contrived scene with no build up.
The story is completely dumb and I can't defend it at all, it truly is terrible screenwriting. But I'm not walking into Out Of The Shadows expecting a groundbreaking plot and genius dialogue. All I want from a film like this is to be entertained, and that's exactly what I got. Out Of The Shadows works because it knows what it is, it's a feature length cartoon episode made for young children, it's dumb, silly, but one hell of a time.
In a 21st Century where most of our childhood heroes have been matured and adapted for a much older audience, it's nice to see a property fully embrace that it's made for kids. Out Of The Shadows is full of heart, joyous action, colorful characters and completely free of contemporary cynicism. Dave Green does a wonderful job of centering the story around the Turtles and putting their relationships at the forefront of this sequel, they're the main focus this time round with April (Megan Fox) and Vern (Will Arnett) taking a backseat. The Turtles, especially Mikey and Raph, are tired of lurking in the shadows, they want New York to recognize them as the heroes they are and accept them. The Turtles long for a normal life, they begin to resent their monstrous appearance as it prevents them from having a life outside the sewers. The interactions between the Turtles are genuine, they're well performed and brought to life by CGI pretty damn well. Even when the most dumb things possible are happening, you still care because at the center of it all are four lovable characters.
Thankfully, the film doesn't ponder on the mechanics of the ridiculous plot at all, and instead uses it to place our four heroes in exciting situations, the best of which is a free-fall airplane sequence which was actually pretty thrilling and the finale which sees the Turtles battle Krang in his large robot suit was also incredible fun.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows panders to the nostalgia freak inside all of us. If you're a fan of the 90's cartoon and the toys, then enter the theater with your inner child, turn your brain off and watch action figures punch each other silly. The film has incorporated Casey Jones, Krang the Conqueror, the scene stealing Bebop and Rocksteady and even a Vanilla Ice reference purely for the enjoyment of the audience.
Like with the 2014 reboot, the human characters are easily the most boring aspect of the film. Megan Fox (Transformers) continues to be completely miscast as April O'Neill, as is Stephen Amell (Arrow) as Casey Jones. Amell isn't nearly as edgy or psychotic as Casey Jones should be, a hockey stick wielding vigilante needs to be on the brink of insanity, yet Amell seems a little too normal in the role. Shredder is also completely wasted in this sequel, he gets no action scenes and hardly ever dons his iconic costume.
There are significant problems with this film, but none that majorly take away from the pure enjoyment of it all. If you're a fan of the source material and the characters, then you'll have a blast with this completely ridiculous sequel. Dave Green succeeds in recreating a childlike wonder that was shockingly intoxicating. I'm giving Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows a 6/10.