The first “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” didn’t really strike inspiration, nor was it very memorable in hindsight. So, there weren’t very high expectations when the sequel reared its head. I’m all for live-action adaptations of things like comics and cartoons and the like. However, I would argue that there are some things that don’t quite translate well into live-action. “Alvin and the Chipmunks,” “The Smurfs” being chief among them. “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows” falls into this category as well. It’s much better than its predecessor, but really, that isn’t saying much. At face-value, it has its entertaining moments, but at two hours long, the watch-checking becomes more and more prevalent. So much so, that no matter how much action or banter the turtles engage in, “Out of the Shadows” is underwhelming and forgettable.
For the last year, the turtle brothers–Raphael (voice of Alan Ritchson), Donatello (voice of Jeremy Howard), Leonardo (voice of Pete Ploszek), and Michelangelo (voice of Noel Fisher)–have remained in the shadows. After defeating Shredder (Brian Tee), they allowed Vernon Fenwick (Will Arnett) to take all the credit for taking him down, gaining him public fame and a key to the city as a reward. Reporter and friend to the turtles, April O’Neil (Megan Fox), is tracking scientist Baxter Stockman (Tyler Perry), who she believes is helping Shredder escape imprisonment. On the move from one prison to another, a chase ensues. Stockman’s people are trying to get Shredder out of his holding truck in order to teleport him (quite literally) from the one place to another.
Corrections officer Casey Jones (Stephen Amell) is on the hijacked truck when Shredder is released and, although no one, not even the chief of police (Laura Linney), believes him, Casey is not to be deterred. In a chase to capture the purple ooze (this is no joke, that’s actually what they call it) that changed criminals Bebop (Gary Anthony Williams) and Rocksteady (Stephen Farrelly) into animals, Casey, ready to fight in his hockey mask and stick, ends up helping April and working with team turtle. Since nothing is ever easy, taking down Shredder becomes more complicated when an alien life form, known as Commander Krang (voice of Brad Garrett), enlists Shredder’s help to open a portal that will not only help him get back home, but also take over the world. Because, what else would it be?
There’s more contention between the turtle brothers as Raphael claims they’re a “family but not a team.” See, the purple ooze doesn’t just have the capability to turn humans into animals, but it works vice versa as well. Because the foursome are tired of living in the shadows, hiding out, helping the city but never able to reveal their faces to the world. It’s become wearisome for them. Although this argument adds a layer to the film, it’s only touched upon briefly before everything goes back to being hunky dory. The truth is, the film is far too silly for it to be taken seriously and so this aspect ultimately feels out of place compared to the more lighthearted and kid-like energy the film embraces.
“Out of the Shadows” might be good for the kids, but it isn’t fun most adults would enjoy unless you’re already a major fan of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The villain is a bit too over-the-top ridiculous and even the way the villains team up to try and take over the world is… not so well done. I know, maybe I should just embrace the energetic silliness that this movie brings, but it’s too outside the realm of enjoyment for it to be entertaining and attention-holding.
"Out of the Shadows" might be good for the kids, but it isn't fun most adults would enjoy unless you're already a major fan of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.