Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows is a sequel no one asked for to the reboot film from 2014 that no one asked for. Need proof? Look no further than the film’s overall dismal box office performance.
Part of the irony, perhaps, is that Out of the Shadows is a better film in nearly every way. It introduces three new major players, relegating the drab April O’Neil to the sidelines. One introduction is Casey Jones, in full boring white-guy glory. He is about as uninteresting as it comes, leveling the story with “Generic Man” who happens to have a hockey stick and is skilled at finding roller blades at mostly opportune times.
On the positive side, the film is glossy and colorful and remains one of the best examples of what could easily be dubbed “big dumb fun act-splosion.” Specifically, the film features a mostly wonderful mixture of CGI with real effects. The cars exploding are actual cars, even if the explosion and the characters in the explosion are absurdly fake. This is what this kind of film can excel with.
It is the CGI that gives us the Technodrome in every captivating pixel. It’s the kind of fun all 10-year-olds would hope for in 2017, and it never promises to be anything but the silliest and dumbest crap ever put to production. There is certainly an argument that this could have attempted to be more, but you can’t dismiss the team that didn’t go with “elevating the material” considering it’s got a robot with a talking brain that fights four talking turtles with lasers inside of a floating metal dome.
Out of the Shadows is an example of sequel distress, as the poor quality of the first film bled into the perception of the sequel from moviegoers. Despite the fact that the film added all the elements fans were hoping for, in Krang as a wonderfully lively villain and Bebop and Rocksteady in full CGi form, the film is still stifled by Baydom- an incessant need to paint everything in full bloat and excess. If it could have only been dialed back a bit, it could have been a film with a little more of a bite. In its current form, it’s fun, colorful, and not insulting, and there could be a lot worse with a story filled with fighting robots.