Movie Reviews

Getting Used to the Light (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows Review)

The turtles face a new challenge when Shredder (Brian Tee) escapes from custody and joins forces with Baxter Stockman (Tyler Perry), a mad scientist who plans to use a serum to take over the world. Along for the ride are Bebop (Gary Anthony Williams) and Rocksteady (Sheamus), two dimwitted henchmen who provide plenty of muscle. Luckily, the turtles have their own allies in April O’Neil (Megan Fox), Vernon Fenwick (Will Arnett) and Casey Jones (Stephen Amell), a hockey-masked vigilante. As the pizza-loving heroes prepare for battle, the notorious Krang (Brad Garrett) also emerges to pose an even greater threat.

I will say that I’m a fan of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles but I found myself a little disappointed by the last entry in the series, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, back in 2014. As how most Michael Bay films go (I know he didn’t direct, only produced), all of its special effects, explosions, and whatnot could not distract me from the lack of story and also the cheesy script and dialogue. Despite that and the fact that Michael Bay is still involved as a producer, I am still looking forward to this one.

This one picks up where the last one left off with the evil Shredder (Tee) along with two other dimwitted criminals Bebop (Williams) and Rocksteady (Sheamus) being transported to prison. Of course it doesn’t quite work out that way with all of them escaping thanks to the help of a mad scientist named Baxter Stockman (Perry). He along with Shredder plan to use a serum, which can turn humans into animals, to try and take over the world.

At least that’s the what the film wants you to believe as this whole plotline is abandoned pretty early on. This was abandoned in favor of another villain (who I’m not really sure what he/it is) named Krang (Garrett) who teams up with Shredder and his minions in order to retrieve parts of some alien portal-making device for him so he can come and take over Earth. So the remainder of the film involves the turtles, Michelangelo (Noel Fisher), Donatello (Jeremy Howard), Leonardo (Pete Ploszek), and Raphael (Alan Ritchson) trying to stop Shredder from getting these parts, thus trying to stop Krang.

One of the biggest problems in the previous film was that there was so much extraneous stuff going on that it kind of distracted from what little story it had. This was not so much the case here as the film contained a fair amount of lighter moments which was able to better showcase each of the turtles’ different personalities. This also happened throughout but was more evident then. These moments created a lot of more real and funny scenes that were definitely fun to watch. While better, some cheesiness still remained. A subplot involving the serum possibly changing the turtles into humans also created a little drama amongst the turtles and brought up some more obvious messages like the importance of brotherhood and family which was okay.

The plot, albeit better than the first film, did not make too much sense here but with these kinds of films, that’s besides the point here. While most probably will, these films expect us to just turn our brains off and have fun. Even while trying, it’s hard to ignore lingering questions with the plot and its many holes (at least I couldn’t). Despite that, while less but still similar to the previous film, the action and special effects were good and were not as distracting.

Main characters April O’Neil (Fox) and Vern Fenwick (Arnett) are back this time around and are joined by newcomers Casey Jones (Amell) and Chief Rebecca Vincent (Laura Linney). While still involved somewhat, Fox and mostly Arnett were still good here in lesser roles as O’Neil and Fenwick here as the film had more of a focus on the turtles and their own existential crises. While sticking out in this world, Amell was good here as Jones, a likeable and energetic character. We didn’t get much about him here but that’s nothing another inevitable film can’t fix. Bebop and Rocksteady were okay but did not add anything to the film. Perry was a little too over-the-top as Stockman and Krang was just a lame villain but like Amell’s Jones, it’s nothing another inevitable film can’t fix.

Overall, while an improvement over the previous film, this is still a fun, mindless experience with a lot of decent performances but still a little too mindless for me.

Score: 6.5/10

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