"Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows" stars Megan Fox, Stephen Amell, Will Arnett, Laura Linney, Pete Ploszek, Jeremy Howard, Noel Fisher, and Alan Ritchson. Released on June 3, 2016, the film has the turtles and their human friends joining forces once again to save the city from the Shredder and his new minions.
The film is directed by Dave Green, who also directed Earth to Echo. It is a sequel to the 2014 Ninja Turtles reboot, which is based on the characters of the same name created by Peter Laird and Kevin Eastman. The Ninja Turtles have been very popular over the years since its debut in 1984, ranging from comic books, merchandise, television shows, and movies. I've been growing up with the heroes in the half-shell for as long as I can remember, mostly on television and on the big screen. While the 2014 reboot wasn't very well-received from critics and fans of the source material, it managed to become a box office success despite facing some competition from Guardians of the Galaxy, which lead Hollywood to make another Turtles film with some few changes. I was one of the few people that enjoyed the last Ninja Turtles film, so I was looking forward to this latest sequel. I got a chance to see it on the biggest screen possible to fully enjoy the experience, and no, it's not an IMAX theater. To be completely honest with you, I was not disappointed.
The main cast reprised their roles as their respective characters except a few of them. The sequel changed the actors who played Shredder, Karai, and Baxter Stockman from the first film. Now we got Brian Tee as the Shredder (nice choice), Brittany Ishibashi as Karai (OK choice), and Tyler Perry as Stockman. The way Perry portrays Stockman was a bit silly at times, but I wouldn't say he was at the same level as Jesse Eisenberg's portrayal as Lex in Batman V Superman, or in this case, his portrayal as Madea. Megan Fox reprised her role as the turtles' human friend, April O'Neil. She did a bit better than her role in the 2014 film, in my opinion. Compared to her role in the first film, she serves as a secondary character and hands over the spotlight to the turtles, which would satisfy those who weren't fond of her being the main character in the last film. Oh, Will Arnett's back too, but his role is quite small as well. The actors who portrayed the turtles via motion capture made a return, except for Johnny Knoxville, who voiced Leonardo in the last film. They once again did a great job with their performances, especially Noel Fisher as Mikey and Ploszek as Leo. We also have some new characters joining the party (What fun). Stephen Amell, known for his role in Arrow, was pretty solid as Casey Jones, although this latest version, compared to the other Casey Jones iterations, was a bit different in terms of his characteristics. Bebop and Rocksteady, Shredder's main minions, finally made their big-screen debut and this film showcased them perfectly. The designs on these characters are exactly what I thought they should look like from the 1980s animated series, and they delivered some pretty laughable humor, in a good way. Another character also made its big-screen debut from the 80s show, and that, my friends, was none other than the vicious Krang. We've seen what the character looks like in the trailers and television ads, but we haven't heard him speak…until now. This latest version of Krang is voiced by Brad Garrett, which sounds unusual on paper, but for the most part, he was…passable.
The visual effects were a blast to watch, along with some fight sequences between the turtles and their enemies. Like the 2014 film, the design of the turtles showcases their personalities, such as Raph being the muscle of the group and Donnie being a nerd and a tech wiz, hence the glasses and his technological backpack. They still look a bit big, however, but it doesn't bother me that much. The story is a big-budget live-action cartoon like the animated series in the 80s. While the kids will enjoy the silliness that it has to offer, longtime fans will enjoy the amount of nostalgia that made them love the turtles in the first place. Sure, the story is no Oscar winner, but director Dave Green had a goal to make a ridiculous, popcorn-inducing Ninja Turtles film that fans will enjoy and he accomplished that. The film also explores the themes that the Ninja Turtles are known for, like teamwork, brotherhood, and family, which I thought was pretty darn impressive. There were a couple of moments that could've been done a bit better, which I won't spoil in case you haven't seen it, but what they've got was all right with me.
Overall, "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows" is the most fun I have had so far this summer. With plenty of fan service and loads of entertaining moments, along with some respectable themes about teamwork and family, this sequel is a big improvement over the 2014 reboot in more ways than one. As I said before, the story wasn't very strong and its cartoonish humor can be a nuisance to those who aren't fond of that kind of humor, but I had a blast watching this film and I'm hoping to see it again if I have the time. I would highly recommend this sequel to the Ninja Turtles fans and to those who are in a mood for some mindless entertainment. Even though the film is rated PG-13, it has plenty of moments that are suitable for younger viewers. Cowabunga!!
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