Film titles are deceptively important. Although the film itself will determine whether its title is worth remembering, a title has various uses. It could provide a hint to a mystery, or even spoil a movie completely. Sometimes titles will tell you exactly what to expect from their films. Other times, they make empty promises. With Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, the title lands in the former category.
It promises to be dumb fun and it delivers.
Following the events of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the Turtles are called to save New York City once more. With their nemesis Shredder (Brian Tee) gaining a dangerous ally in the alien Krank, the Turtles will need to stay focused and united to protect their city. But when they discover a serum that could turn them human, they have to decide if being a turtle is worth a living a life in the shadows.
Going in, I did not expect TMNT 2 to be a highbrow source of entertainment. And it isn’t. All the villains are evil for the sake of being evil and lack any motivation. Megan Fox is only there to be pretty, which she succeeds in fabulously, and Stephen Amell is unbearably annoying as Casey Jones. The plot is simple and predictable, while the dialogue is bland if not cheesy. Unlike fans of the property or younger viewers, general audiences will be less forgiving and may find the film underwhelming.
Nonetheless, I found myself enjoying TMNT 2 because it captures the crazy fun of the animated series I grew up watching. The one thing this film had to get right in order to succeed was the Turtles and they are the best part of the film. Their action scenes are a blast; the Brazil sequence in particular is a standout. The performances are unexpectedly charismatic and any time the film shifts its focus away from the Turtles, it suffers. Amell’s big action moment is uninspiring because it is easily overshadowed by everything the Turtles do.
Part of the reason why the Turtles are so successful in drawing audiences in is because they look great for most of the film. Yet, for whatever reason the quality of their appearance drops in the final act. The final battle itself is dull in comparison to earlier sequences, but the drastic change in the animation quality makes the scene standout in the worst way. Oddly enough, this is a bigger detriment to the film than the previously mentioned flaws. If what carries a film falters, audiences will feel the impact of it more than the film's other weaknesses.
TMNT 2 is a film about anthropomorphic adolescent turtles that have been trained as ninjas by a giant rat. The film doesn’t want you to think too hard and you shouldn’t. Fans of the Turtles will enjoy the honest adaptation of the source material and fans of Michael Bay will enjoy the action. Anyone coming into this film expecting anything else shouldn’t have bought their ticket in the first place.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows was released on June 3, 2016.