STARRING: Pete Ploszek, Alan Ritchson, Noel Fisher, Jeremy Howard, Danny Woodburn, Tony Shalhoub, Megan Fox, Stephen Amell, Will Arnett, Brian Tee, Gary Anthony Williams, Stephen Farrelly, Tyler Perry, Brittany Ishibashi, Laura Linney and Brad Garrett
The Turtles return to save the city from a dangerous threat.
Out Of The Shadows picks up after the events of the 2014 film, with the Turtles coming into conflict with returning enemy Shredder, who has hired T.C.R.I scientist Dr. Baxter Stockman to create mutants of his own in the form of Bebop and Rocksteady to level the playing field. Upon Shredder’s escape from custody, the Turtles learn that an extraterrestrial invasion is being planned and a new vigilante appears on the streets of New York City.
I think it’s fair to say that there was a number of people (including myself) that were disappointed with the 2014 release of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and while I can say I definitely enjoyed Out Of The Shadows moreso than the last instalment, the film still has its fair share of problems.
The sequel plays more like a live-action adaptation of the late 80’s animated series, as if the studio heard the complaints (There wasn’t enough Turtles/Too much time focusing on April and Vern) and decided to throw everyone into the mix, from Bebop and Rocksteady, to Casey Jones and even Krang being thrown into the mix. It’s total fan service and on paper it should work, in particular I did enjoy how they initially set up the arc for Stephen Amell’s take on Casey Jones, a disgruntled cop who happens to be transporting Shredder when he escapes (as well as Bebop and Rocksteady) and with no one at the station willing to hear his side of the story (due to its bizarre nature falling under the saying of ‘You had to see it to believe it’) and decides to take justice into his own hands in hunting down Bebop and Rocksteady. The Turtles themselves have come into the forefront moreso here than in the last instalment, having the sub-plot of learning that the serum Dr. Stockman has created in order to turn Bebop and Rocksteady into mutants could have the reserve effect on them, turning them into humans, leads to a potentially interesting angle for the four brothers to take. The action sequences feel more fluent than the previous instalment, with the camerawork being more focused on these moments. I appreciate that, while limited, they toned down Vern a lot in comparison to his creepy self in the 2014 film.
The problem that Out Of The Shadows suffers from…well, there’s a few problems actually. The main issue I have with the film is that it spends too much time going for the easy (and very much questionable) gags, from a Rocksteady fart joke (because why the hell not at this point), to Michelangelo introducing Casey Jones to each of his brothers, complete with Game Show audio (and canned laughter) overlapping. It just doesn’t work on screen as the film has certain moments which will make you reminisce on how it feels like the animated series brought to life….then you have scenes like the Game Show one that follows up straight after. Once again the villains are the weakest aspect of the film. Bebop and Rocksteady may look the part but they long outstay their welcome and with the film clocking in at just under two hours, I found them to be very irritating by films end which is a shame as I enjoyed the two eejits on the animated series growing up. Even Shredder is wasted here and while in the final act we don’t have transformer Shredder, he’s substituted instead by Krang for the finale though Krang feels completely shoehorned in as he literally appears for all of seven minutes in this film.
It certainly better than what came before and heard from the fans what they wanted and decided to throw all the characters into Out Of The Shadows but it’s too clustered with stuff going on that it loses its way after a pretty good first act. Once again the Turtles are the standout and though the character is limited after a strong introduction, I did like Stephen Amell as Casey Jones. 4/10