Movie Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: Out of the Shadows (2016)

A sequel to the 2014 reboot of the series, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows is a half-animated 2016 superhero action movie. The titular turtles return in all their glory, as Raph, Mikey, Leo and Donnie (seemingly content to shorten their names) continue to protect the city of New York, unseen from the shadows. Megan Fox and the newly added Stephen Amell play April O’Neil and Casey Jones, respectively, with Will Arnett returning as April’s former camerman Vern, now known city-wide as The Falcon, for his (supposed) role in saving New York in the first film. Gary Anthony Williams and WWE wrestler Sheamus also join the cast as Bebop and Rocksteady, thugs turned into monstrous half-animal hybrids by the dangerous Shredder (Brian Tee), under command of the alien General Krang (voiced by Brad Garrett).

+ the Turtles themselves seem to have a bit more personality,and are much more content to joke compared to their obviously Dark Knight influenced 2014 portrayals. Their movie introduction is them fighting over a pizza, and that sets the tone well for what to expect from the brother. Newcomer to the movieverse, but series mainstay Casey Jones was played quite effectively by Stephen Amell. Obvious Arrow comparisons aside, I enjoyed his new character, especially as he played off Megan Fox
+ Bebop and Rocksteady were absolutely perfect, and easily the highlight of the movie. Williams and Sheamus played off of each other so perfectly that every time they would say their favourite phrase (“My man!”), I would get a goofy smile across my face. No matter where the series heads from here, they deserve nothing but praise
+ the whole tone of the film sees to have changed from the “realistic” way it was presented in the horribly sub-par first film. Here, the turtles are goofs, April and Casey are the ‘straight men’ to the turtles, and while the stakes are higher, it feel more like a children’s movie.

– if the first movie was far too similar to The Amazing Spider-man, the this movie has to be far too similar to Man of Steel. So many moments from this seem like they were almost tailor made for a different DC movie, only to have the Turtles inserted over the top
– a few times, I can’t help but think I saw the costumes on the real-world Turtle actors are bit too clearly. Most of the time it was on their legs – it looked like their Turtle-leg-coloured pants moved in a way that, I assume, real Turtle legs wouldn’t. I guess what I’m saying is a CGI failure? I don’t know

Should you see this film: I almost want to recommend this just because of how fantastic Bebop and Rocksteady are. The stakes are higher than the first movie, there is more stylish CGI action scenes and overall a light tone, but to be perfectly frank, it is still not all that great of a movie. If you are happy to put this on in the background as you do something else (as I did for about a third of it) then it might work for you, but otherwise this is probably worth missing.

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