Angel’s Review of TMNT 2: Out Of The Shadows (NON SPOILER)

Movie Description:

“As Shredder joins forces with mad scientist Baxter Stockman and henchmen Bebop and Rocksteady to take over the world, the Turtles must confront an even greater nemesis: the notorious Krang.”

I’m not the biggest turtle fan, but I really loved them when I was a kid. I thought they were the coolest ninjas ever watching all cartoon iterations and reading some of the graphic novels. I was very disappointed with the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and was really hoping I would enjoy this film and have a kawabunga time! Let’s get started 🙂

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I really love the way the turtles look. They have this horrifically mutated presence, but at the same time they look ridiculously awesome and very similar to their original source material of the graphic novels. The actors that play the turtles are spot on! They have a great sense of understanding each of these characters and bringing them to life through motion capture, personality, and voice which is not easy to do at all. I just wish they were written better and had more focus considering it’s their own film as a sequel.

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I wasn’t too invested with the story. It felt like a complete re-hash of the first film, which I’m totally not against, I don’t mind seeing similar plot points in a film as long as it’s executed well. This was not done well, in fact I thought the first film was done better. Shredder joining forces with Tyler Perry with the assistance of Bepob and Rocksteady to take over the world felt generic and I never felt anything was at stake at all.

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The dialogue in this film was cringeworthy. As a result, the performances from everyone wasn’t much better.

Megan Fox as April O’Neil is such a miscast. It’s a distraction, especially when they know she isn’t a good actress so they utilize any moment to give her a slow motion sexualized shot as an attempt to get us to forget. How sad is that? She’s the SAME character from Transformers, she has NO personality of a strong-willed news reporter warrior that April O’Neil has. She’s one of the main focuses and that really bugs me, especially when wanting to see a good story with characters that have been represented 20 times better than this.

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They DESTROYED CASEY JONES. One of the coolest vigilantes out there and they completely demolished who he is as a character. I actually had no problem with Stephen Amell’s performance. In fact, he was one of the minor highlights of my experience I had with this film. His reactions to seeing the turtles and master splinter made me laugh SO HARD! Probably my favorite moments of the film. The way he acted is actually the wit and humor I wished he would bring to Oliver Queen from Arrow. The problem was how they handled his origin, which is not how the character develops at all from any iteration. He’s a vigilante that is frustrated with the system which makes him such an interesting complex character and it frustrated me to see him written and handled HORRIBLY. Elias Koteas from the 1990’s TMNT live action film WAS COMPLETELY Casey Jones.

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The villains were horrendous. I really dislike using that word because it sounds pretty aggressive and I never want to dislike any aspect about a film, but they just were and it  wasn’t okay for me. Shredder, Bepob, Rocksteady, Baxter Stockman, and Krang had no development or motivation.

Shredder wanted to take over the world…again…why? Shredder decides to work with an unknown creature and automatically trusts that villain to take over the world together? Shredder is much smarter and menacing than he was portrayed. Really enjoy the actor, but again..didn’t have a lot to work with.

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Bepob and Rocksteady were perfectly done. The way they looked and how the behaved was identical to the cartoons. The thing is, they felt like cartoon characters. Not everything can translate from a comic, a cartoon, or a book perfectly onto the big screen as it was written and I thought this was a great example. These characters were too cheesy for me and they just felt completely inserted. They also weren’t developed and had zero motivation. My little brother, who loved the film, kept asking me who those guys were, why were they bad, where did they come from, and why do they want to hurt the turtles. EVERYTHING the film decided not to dive into which is unfortunate because they are SO AWESOME in the cartoons. At times, their CGI was very bad and it was distracting.

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Krang was the worst of them all. Again with no development or any motivation. Where did he come from? This would have been such a great opportunity to give him an awesome mythology and have me interested as to why he wants to destroy the earth. Nope, none of that. If I didn’t already have any history of knowing Krang from the cartoons, I wouldn’t have learned a single thing from this film other than he’s an angry organism that reminded me of Dr. Zoidberg. So much potential with this iconic Turtle villain and yet, he was unsatisfactory for the standards that I’ve already seen him surpass in other versions.

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This film was solely targeted for kids. It felt like a lot of flash and bangs rather than a great story with focus on characters that are actually intriguing. What makes the turtles so special is that anyone can identify with one of them, or all of them, or each of them at different times in our lives. These turtles had so many moments where it would give an incredible scene between each of their relationships with one another, but it would diminish with a pointless joke or action. So much potential, but the focus just wasn’t there.

The cartoons have established a goofy tone that the studios won’t risk losing because they want the kid audience, since they bring in the families which equals more money for the studio. I’m fine with any tone, just make sure elements of the tone appeal to everyone of any age, for example, Toy Story 1-3 execute that brilliantly.

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I really loved the theme of the film. From what I interpreted, the message was to not allow yourself to assimilate to society standards, you should STANDOUT for who you truly are regardless of what anyone thinks. The turtles have to make a crucial life decision of coming out of the shadows to hope they are accepted or to remain hidden in the darkness of the night. This is such a great theme for the turtles to have authentic inner struggles, but it was barely emphasized in the film.

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OVERALL, I did not enjoy TMNT 2. I REALLY wanted to. I never want to dislike any film because I love movies so much. I’m hoping this is a learning experience for the studio to handle this beloved property better. I’m sure they will now since it was a financial bomb, so they’ll be looking for anything to blame, this could be great news. This movie made the 1990 TMNT film look like a masterpiece. It made me appreciate it much more because the  everything was depicted so well. It was the closet we’ll get to the original source material and I’m definitely going to watch it to get this one off my mind.

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TMNT 2 felt like a huge cheese-fest, the turtles had minimal focus, the rest of the characters were not written well at all, the villains weren’t menacing/no motivation/no development, soundtrack was awful (best song was in the credits), film felt too immature for me, the cgi was sub-par other than the turtles, and I didn’t care for the story. Those of you who enjoyed it, that’s amazing to hear. That makes me so happy to know that a film brought joy to others. I wouldn’t want it any other way! Thanks so much for reading my review. My rating for this film is 6/10. 

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