So this past weekend saw the North American release of TMNT 2 (Out of the Shadows) garnering mixed reviews (and I think that's being nice about it).
If there's one thing about critics i don't care for it's that they're just too darned critical!
Can't a movie just be fun and entertaining? I mean this movie does that in spades. Especially when you contrast it agaisnt the tone of its 2014 predacessor.
While i'm no turtles expert I know enough to handle myself in a casual conversation of most 40 somethings who grew up on the tail end of the animated turtles craze of the 80's and I thoroughly enjoyed live action turtles films (as products of their age). I am not ashamed to admit that they all have a place in my (dusty) dvd collection.
Out of the Shadows does a couple of things fairly well that the 2014 film didn't.
This time around there's no question; the turtles are front and center to this film while the human characters take a definite back seat (Which is good when your heroes are actually mutated humanoid turtles).
This film offers total fan service to the 80's cartoon in heaps! Krang, Rocksteady, Beebop, and Baxter Stockman in his nerdiest of ways offer pretty cool throwbacks to the show that made me smile more than once.
And why shouldn't I? I paid to be entertained and I was. I even bought into the idea that Casey Jones was a corrections officer even if i didn't think Stephen Amell nailed it as much as I wanted him too. Its OK Steve...you've got Arrow going for you and i'm sure that will keep you plenty busy for seasons to come. (As if Stephen Amell is going to read my blog PFFT! eye roll)
Now getting back to the turtles. Is it just me that thinks that in the 2014 film the turtles seem less like brothers and more like 4 guys with the same master? (albeit that is true, they did all have Master Splinter). I mean i just didn't get the "familial" vibe. I feel that Out of the Shadows does a much better job at conveying both the bonds of brotherhood and the tribulations of sibling rivalry.
In short TMNT isn't high art. It's not a date movie (unless your date is just as much a turtle nerd as you are in which case ITS TOTALLY A DATE MOVIE), it's not an award winner (not even for VFX which were pretty good I must say. I'm looking at you Nun-chuk armed garbage truck!), but it is a feel good trip down memory lane that you can shamelessly enjoy with your friends and family. I look forward to seeing what direction this franchise goes if it gets another sequel.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Out of the Shadows gets 7 Cowabungas out of 10