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Jyger’s Rant – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows Review

Well, yesterday was my birthday (Happy 31st to me), so I decided that, for my birthday, in lieu of a gift card or the like, which we normally do for each other, I asked N. Harmonik to get me a ticket to go see a movie. And what movie was it? Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows. And you know what? I had a great time. Yes, the movie is only good if you kinda shut your brain off and don’t think about it too much, but you know what? I know that going in. I knew, from the moment I saw Megan Fox in the initial trailer dressed like a schoolgirl-type whatever that this was gonna be dumb, but I went anyway. Why? Because it’s the Ninja Turtles. I was a HUGE Turtles fan as a kid. When my First Grade teacher couldn’t teach me to read and was just gonna try the same failing method over and over, my parents got me TMNT books and taught me to read with them. The first movie I ever remember seeing in theaters (though I’ve been told I’ve seen others beforehand) was the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie in 1990. My favourite colour is green. My favourite number is 4. So even if this was the suckiest suck that ever sucked, I was still gonna go and enjoy myself, because what were the odds that TMNT’s opening day was my birthday? And it actually WASN’T the suckiest, either. It was actually a lot better than the first one. Of course, that’s not saying much, and we’ll get to what was bad in a sec, but first, let’s talk about the stuff I really enjoyed.

First off, the stuff with the Turtles is actually good. In fact, I actually thought the emotional conflict between them was a lot better done and isn’t just Leonardo and Raphael not getting along Part Who-Knows-What-Anymore. Granted, we DO get more than a couple of arguments between the two, but…well, how do I put this?…You know how when there’s a personal issue with the team, Raph is usually Problem Turtle? Well, Raph is not Problem Turtle in this movie. He DOES do something that kinda screws things up bad, but in retrospect, if anyone is Problem Turtle in this movie, it’s Leo, and it’s not just a problem between those two, but the whole team. Donnie finds out that they can become human, and Leo, knowing that Raph and Mikey are the more sensitive of the team and how much they hate having to stick to the shadows, as well as how becoming human would kinda mess with the team’s overall effectiveness a bit, tells him to keep this between themselves. Of course, Michelangelo overhears anyway and tells Raph. What happens as a result is that we get it painted clear as day, and in fact, Splinter calls Leo out on this; Leo is a born leader when it comes to strategy and whatnot, but when it comes to balancing out the unique perspectives and character pros and cons of his brothers, he’s terrible, and he needs to figure out how to correct this problem. I thought analyzing that was a good idea. The resolution was a bit lacking, but it was still an aspect of the characters worth exploring.

I also really liked Bebop and Rocksteady. I don’t really understand why, in hindsight, it was necessary for Sheamus to completely change his hairstyle for this movie when he loses it upon becoming a mutant, and doing so instead has resulted in chants of “You look stupid!” for the past year, but whatever. There is one thing I have to nitpick, though: The way the mutagen works to turn Rocksteady and Bebop. Now, in the cartoon, they were mutated into a rhino and a warthog as they were the last creatures they came in contact with, and likely had residue of the creatures on their persons. It made sense. Here, the mutagen latches onto genetic markers that lead back to animals that the movie is pretending exists in us. It’s not even the animal spirit thing that the MMPR movie did, either. They specifically said it was in their genetic makeup. And without even missing a beat, with no regard for any of the looks I got, I just went “Of course! Don’t you know anything about science?!

As far as some of the other characters go, I thought Kraang was silly, but in a way that works for him and harkens back great to the old cartoon. I thought it was a smart move that the Foot Clan are actually NINJAS in this movie, as opposed to whatever the hell they were supposed to be in the last one. I think they were just generic terrorists, but whatever. Shredder is played by someone else, but I don’t really mind that at all. What was funny was that I was about to comment how much I preferred the new, black, heavily-streamlined costume he wore in this one as opposed to when he was Shredder-tron in the last one…right before he was completely under-minded as a legit villain in this movie by Kraang. Casey was kinda on the bland side, but he was still okay. Of all the human characters in this movie, I probably felt for his situation most, although it was a weird direction when you’re more used to the more mainstream interpretations of the character. But again, he’s still alright…which is actually something that makes him better than pretty much every single human character on the good guys’ side in the entire movie. Really, the biggest problem this movie has is whenever we leave the Turtles and focus on the humans, because the good guys of the human cast are just not that interesting or engaging.

Which, of course, brings us to Megan Fox. I’m just gonna be blunt here, and I want everyone to understand where I’m coming from with this…It’s 2016, right? It’s 2016, and I’m still having it crammed down my throat that Megan Fox is sexy. You know? Like, it’s 20-fucking-16, and that’s STILL her only real contributor. Like, we can’t just have her ACT and get her roles over by acting, because that would require effort, so instead, we just gotta push Megan Fox out there, WITH TOP BILLING, FYI, and have her be sexy. I’m sorry, but she’s just not a good actress. I can’t pretend she is. And as far as the character of April as presented in this movie goes, I don’t even know where you go with her after this. She’s the Turtles’ connection to the human world. Fine. Guess what? We now have Casey and THE ENTIRE NYPD that can fill that role. And what is so perplexing about this is that this is all the same shit that happened with the Transformers movies, and Megan Fox quit those! Now she’s doing the same shit again, working under the same person she had problems with before! And she said she wanted to play the role because she really loved the character, and you know what, maybe she DOES love the character of April O’Neil. I’m not calling her a liar. That could very well be true. But even if it is, we have to accept one very important, minor issue: SHE’S NOT A GOOD ACTRESS! I do not spend money to go see a movie just because the actors are pretty. But, so long as we’re on the subject, not only is Stephen Amell’s performance in this movie better than Megan Fox’s, not only do I care a lot more for him and his back-story (admittedly, probably not as much as they want me to, but whatever), and not only does he play off the Turtles a bit better, but guess what? He’s also a lot prettier.

Anyway, overall, I still enjoyed this movie. When the story focuses on the personality traits and faults of the Turtles, as well as seeing them in action, it’s a good movie. Maybe not one you wanna think too hard about, but still is at least fun and worth checking out. And to be perfectly honest, I kinda knew, going in, what it was that REALLY was gonna make this movie much better than the previous one: They took the more absurd, insane, and just impossible-to-take-seriously aspects of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (which, as an old-school fan, I can tell you, there are MANY of), and just had fun with them. It’s not ashamed to be Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. It doesn’t try to hide any of these aspects. It just goes full-blown with them. And I cannot tell you how much I appreciate that. They iron out the other issues with the movies thus far, and the third one should be GREAT. So, lemme know what YOU thought of this movie (if you saw it, that is), and we’ll see if they learn anything more when it finally comes time for the third movie. Take us out, CD9.

…Oh yeah, and Baxter Stockman was annoying as shit, and the product placement was STILL really irritatingly blatant. lol Ja né!