A Little Too Cartoonish | Review of ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows’

By Cynthia Ayala

TMNT: Out of the Shadows starring Megan Fox, Stephen Amell & Will Arnett
Paramount Pictures
Image Credit: IMDB

As Shredder joins forces with mad scientist Baxter Stockman and henchmen Bebop and Rocksteady to take over the world, the Turtles must confront an even greater nemesis: the notorious Krang.


The sequel to the 2014 film starring Megan Fox and the great ninja turtles, this film is more cartoonish than the previous film and submerges the film in a lot of action but not very much martial arts. Now, that is not to say that this is a bad film because it is full of tons of laughs and clever dialogue, but the biggest flaw of the film was the addition of three major villains alongside Shredder. It was just too much for the film and detracted from the storyline as a whole.

Commander Krang’s introduction was a very awkward scene, it just came out of nowhere and then the dynamic between him and Shredder was just ill constructed. Krang was just not in the film enough and the precedence to introduce him clear enough. It would have worked better for him to be there at the end of the movie to set up for another, but by including him in this film it was just overreaching on the part of the writers. Not only did it give the other villains less screen time, it was clear that Krang was strictly a plot device. That was how the structure of the film worked and Shredder, he got so little screen time and that is probably my biggest problem because while Rocksteady and Bebop were great additions, exactly like the animated cartoon, complete idiots. While that is a good thing and while they got the appropriate screen time, Shredder was barely in the movie. There was no final face-off between the turtles and their arch nemesis. Moreover, while there were plenty was action there was no real fighting in the movie.

That is a big problem for me because these guys are ninja turtles yet unlike with the previous film, the audience doesn’t get to see any of the martial artistry that was in the previous film. It’s more of dodging and running and catching the villains off guard. There are no actual fight sequences, even at the end, it’s all about dodging and skating around the villain. The creators of the film worked so hard to give these turtles cool weaponry yet those weapons they don’t reach their full potential.

The underlining plot of the turtles desire to leave outside of the shadows should have been more prominent, but sadly, it wasn’t. They are four brothers who are all so different, but they have the same heart, the same desires to be a part of the world. That’s not to say that it wasn’t there, but it was overshadowed by the cartoonish dynamics between the turtles as the villains.

On the bright side of the film was Stephen Amell who not only had great chemistry with the beautiful Megan Fox but he nailed that character and if you ask me, that character was written more like the Oliver Queen/Green Arrow from the comics than the actual show is. Sorry (not sorry), he nailed it and there is no reason he can’t act like this on the TV show. He was charming, so snarky, and really knows how to play his hockey. Amell was a great choice for the character and the film. As for Fox, I know many people put her down a lot, but she was great. It’s obvious she is more comfortable in this role than she was in the Transformer films so her acting is ten times better because she has confidence in the role. Aka, she’s not just being treated like eye-candy. She acts very much like a Lois Lane, and if you ask me, she makes a much better Lois than Amy Adams, sorry (not sorry).

Out of the Shadows wasn’t a complete disappointment. It was fun, enjoyable, and had a lot of laughs, an amazing character dynamics, and chemistry. Everyone fit in their respective roles, and as a whole, they fit together. It was a great ensemble and the biggest flaw was adding in Krang when he didn’t need to be introduced just yet. The writers are talented enough to do something different, to find a way around him. They could have and they should have.

On a personal note, I’m really sore that Shredder didn’t get to shred. Still, this was a great family movie that at least didn’t lose its heart and stayed closer to the classic cartoon series. (★★☆☆ | C+)

—Film Credits—

Directed by Dave Green

Written by Josh Appelbaum & André Nemec

Based on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles by Kevin Eastman & Peter Laird

Starring: Megan Fox, Stephen Amell, Will Arnett, Noel Fisher, Jeremy Howard, Pete Ploszek, Alan Ritchson, Brian Tee, Tyler Perry, Stephen Farrelly, Gary Anthony Williams, Tony Shalhoub, Brittany Ishibashi & Laura Linney

Rating | Length | Genre: PG-13 | 1h 52min | ActionAdventureComedy

Distributed by Paramount Pictures

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