Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows Movie Review
If Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows hadn’t been an outright financial disappointment, it would be the poster child for how to effectively sell some cool, batshit crazy toys to children.
The follow-up to the semi-surprising 2014 box office hit and rebirth of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles—produced by Michael Bay and incoherent and annoying and stupid and awful—is a better, more enjoyable experience, thanks to a new director (Dave Green) and the embracement of the zany premise that is pizza-loving mutated ninja turtles.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows is bonkers, as it should be. Shredder is back, but doesn’t get to do a whole lot other than look angry—the real villain is Commander Krang (a giant, talking, alien brain that uses a robot body to carry him around)—and when you have a villain that is a giant, talking, alien brain, you really have to allow yourself to go full bonkers to work.
The movie also introduces Bebop and Rocksteady, mutated henchmen that look like a warthog and a rhino.
Combine these zany characters with a garbage truck with large mechanical nunchucks and that shoots manhole covers out of its grill, a large tank that Bebop drives and other such weird contraptions ripped from the 80’s and 90’s, you have the makings to extend the TMNT toy empire to a new generation.
Sadly, the movie is still hampered by some truly dreadful writing (writers Josh Appelbaum and Andre Nemec got hired back for some reason)—most notably when the human actors are forced to talk—and some pretty lame characters overall. The four turtles aren’t as obnoxious this time around, but they still lack the character depth of the original, 1987 film.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows is not a movie made for adults, and as an adult critic, there is plenty to scoff at. But if you remember that this movie is made for kids (even though it is PG-13), especially boys, Out of the Shadows delivers in a way the previous one different, a semi-successful transfer of 1980’s nostalgia drawn into modern day.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.