Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows is the sequel to the first film released in 2014 and while this second film places a lot more emphasis on it’s four heroes, it suffers badly from a poor script and an over-abundance of, well everything.
In Out of the Shadows, the villainous Shredder (Brian Tee) joins forces with the inter-dimensional alien warlord Krang (Brad Garrett) to take over the earth by way of sending a planet-killing war machine called the Technodrome down to earth to destroy it.
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – Michelangelo, Donatello, Leonardo and Raphael (Noel Fisher, Jeremy Howard, Pete Ploszek and Alan Ritchson respectively), along with the help of April O’Neil (Megan Fox), Casey Jones (Stephen Amell) and Vernon Fenwick (Will Arnett) are forced to come out of the shadows as the title suggests and stop Shredder and Krang from succeeding in their evil plan.
Standing in their way though are the newly created human/mutant hybrid rhinoceros and warthog, Rocksteady and Bebop (Stephen Farrelly, Gary Anthony Williams).
If that sounds like a lot of characters to cover in this film, then it’s because it is – and there are still others that aren’t mentioned above. Having that many characters always means there’s a trade-off when it comes to character development, in order to make time for other things such as the action.
For instance, the lead villains Shredder and Krang are completely wasted, as Shredder is basically just used to keep the narrative moving forward and we only get to meet Krang for a small period at the start and end of the film. Thankfully, the other two new villain characters in Bebop and Rocksteady are done well enough to provide some comic relief.
The four ninja turtles get a lot more coverage in this film compared to the first, which is a bonus as we get a bit more of an insight into their personalities. The actors that play them also do a great job in bringing their CGI counterparts to life.
Stephen Amell of TV’s Arrow fame is decent as Casey Jones, the turtles’ newest crime-fighting partner. He was written out of the first film, but is a staple character of the original ninja turtles comic/cartoon/film franchises, so it was good to see him in this.
Megan Fox and Will Arnett return as April O’Neil and Vernon Fenwick and perform to an acceptable standard. Arnett is always great in a comedic role, though the writers have missed the mark with April O’Neil, as her character is pretty generic overall.
The premise of Out of the Shadows in where the villains plan to destroy the world has been done time and time again and is a big let-down. The main purpose of Out of the Shadows it seems, is for it to be a spectacle film and in that it mostly succeeds.
Director Dave Green does a good job in directing the action sequences and the film’s visual effects team help to make it all look amazing. The turtles all look great – still very cartoonish, but the skin tones and lighting effects used on those characters in conjunction with sets look very impressive.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows suffers dramatically in it’s plot and character development, but is successful in creating some awesome looking action sequences and offers a small degree of humour. Nostalgia fans and kids might get something enjoyable out of this film, but there’s not much in it for anyone else.
The producers tried to get cameo roles from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990) actors Elias Koteas (the first cinematic Casey Jones) and Sam Rockwell (a Foot Clan member). However, both declined to appear.