Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows is the sequel to 2014’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Set a year after its predecessor, the movie centers on Leonardo (Pete Ploszek), Raphael (Alan Ritchson), Donatello (Jeremy Howard), and Michelangelo (Noel Fisher) trying to stop Shredder (Brian Tee) and his Foot Clan from unleashing Krang (Brad Garrett), an alien conqueror from Dimension X, to this world. The Turtles are once again aided by their mentor/“father” Master Splinter (Peter D. Badalementi and Tony Shalhoub) and their friends April O’Neil (Megan Fox) and Vern Fenwick (Will Arnett), as well as a new ally in the hockey-themed vigilante Casey Jones (Stephen Amell). Likewise, Shredder also finds new allies, or rather, minions in mad scientist Baxter Stockman (Tyler Perry) and mutated thugs Bebop (Gary Anthony Williams) and Rocksteady (Stephen “Sheamus” Farrelly).
Out of the Shadows is an improvement over the first movie. It has Casey Jones, Krang, Bebop, and Rocksteady. Shredder is now portrayed as an actual person rather than a giant faceless robot. And the characterizations and animation of the Turtles are much better. It now looks like an actual Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie.
However, is it any good? No. It’s actually a poorly-crafted movie. The CGI is unimpressive and becomes eventually dizzying. The script lacks creativity and depth. The direction is a mess. The action is unexceptional by superhero blockbuster standards. The climax is very much similar to the climax of the first movie. Casey Jones doesn’t do enough Casey Jones-ing. And just when Shredder is portrayed satisfactorily, the character was underused.
But was I entertained? Absolutely. The truth is I had fun with the first movie – bad as it was – so it was the same case with Out of the Shadows. I recognize that for this movie to be enjoyed, I had to, as the movie-going terminology goes, “turn my brain off” amidst the stupidity and clutter. In addition, I grew up with the cartoons and comics, thus, its nostalgic charm is strong. It also significantly helps that the ending credits rolled with a stirring rendition of the theme song of the classic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated series, so the last impression I had with the movie was an awesome one.
In the end, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows is objectively bad. But some may find it adequately entertaining. Those who can condition themselves before coming into this movie to resign to the fact that it’s going to be dumb and can shut out its flaws might get to have a good time with it – like I did.