This is a non-spoiler review of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows.
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are one of the weirdest pop-culture icons that America has ever conceived, but they have found a way to stay in the hearts of fans since they were introduced. They have comics, games, cartoons, and even live-action films that have been spawned from their concept. It is a hard idea to put into the realistic setting of a live-action movie and unfortunately for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadow, the Turtles are still having trouble adjusting to live-action.
The film's CGI was some of the best you can hope for, and did an amazing job at bringing the classic characters from the Turtles, Bebop, Rocksteady, and Krang to life and all the inter-dimensional settings. Not even the amazing visuals could save the film from itself for fans.
The story felt rushed and led to a choppy story with terrible dialogue. The character development was there, but it was never truly fleshed out. The clear moral of the story was teamwork and accepting yourself for who you truly are, but that point was never able to reach it's full potential in the story.
The Turtles go through a lot of inner turmoil with their appearance and how the outside world views them, and there is a powerful scene in the movie where Mikey breaks down from the shame he feels after a man calls them "monsters." It's a scene that deserved a little more time, but got rushed like most of the movie.
The story never flowed and all of the characters suffered for it. While the Turtles were heavily featured, the new characters like Bebop and Rocksteady were nothing more than some gross comedic relief in a movie full of nothing but comedic relief.
The other villains were also poorly written with their motives completely missing from the story. Krang was an interesting character that they seem to be keen on fleshing out later on, but his motivations for hating the Earth are never touched, or how he found his way in the story to begin with. Shredder literally only wanted revenge on the Turtles and was willing to let the world be destroyed in order to do it, which made little sense.
The fan favorite Casey Jones was underused in the film, as well to the ire of Casey Jones and Stephen Amell fans. He was a fun character to watch who had a hilarious relationship with the Turtles, but his story was non-existent. Stephen Amell gave a solid performance that allowed him to stretch his acting legs, and show that he can do more than be a brooding superhero - by playing a more comedic superhero (like Green Arrow was in the comics). It was a subtle difference, but there aren't any traces of Oliver Queen in his performance.
The franchise is still having trouble developing a story that stays true to the source material, and they seem to be having a hard time finding the right tone for the franchise as well. This movie was lighter than the first and was much more comedy filled, which I didn't mind honestly because it led to some good laughs.
The film had quality comedy and essentially makes fun of itself and keeps away from the self seriousness. The problem is that they can't decide whether to make fun of itself or be taken seriously, which led to the muddled mess of a story we got. The characters weren't serious enough to fit into the darker tone the film tried to venture into.
Through all the problems with the story, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadow is still a film that you can enjoy. The comedy and visuals will keep you entertained unless you are a serious Turtles fan that cannot stand anything other than perfection.
This was a film that probably will only be truly enjoyed by younger viewers, not the original fans from the comics, but the film did enough to keep the Turtles fun and keep the franchise afloat for now. The third installment needs to rethink their formula; find a middle ground between the seriousness of the first film and the comedy of the second. Maybe draw some inspiration from the comics and hope for the best.
4.5 out of 10 stars.