Wow. It’s been two years since I reviewed Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014). Yes, I know you can count, but this is a monumental moment for me. That was the second movie review I ever wrote (Guardians of the Galaxy being the first). Time flies, I guess. I do hope that my writing has improved since then; let’s see if the filmmakers’ skill has improved as well. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows is directed by Dave Green and written by Josh Applebaum and André Nemec. Stars-Megan Fox, Will Arnett, Tyler Perry, Stephen Amell, and Laura Linney. Premise-The Turtles cope with living as social outcasts while the Shredder plans his revenge with the help of a certain pink alien ally.
Just like with its predecessor, I went into the movie thinking, “How bad could it be?” and came out saying, “That sucked!” I know plenty of people think this movie is better than the first one, but I don’t. As far as I’m concerned, they’re equally atrocious. Instead of having a generic plot with a climax ripped off from The Amazing Spider-Man, we have a story with is composed of fifty or so subplots and 9,001 annoying characters. It’s the Rio 2 effect; the writers desperately trying to reach the necessary runtime by introducing another subplot every other scene. This “family film” is more structurally complicated than Memento!
Each of the subplots are extremely weak. Most of them poorly set up the next sequel, and many of them are clichés. The worst example is probably Baxter Stockman and his character storyline. He’s played by Tyler Perry, and (just like anything else Perry is in nowadays) he’s even more unfunny than Will Arnett in the last movie! His performance is so awkward; I’d swear he was trying to make an homage to Jesse Eisenberg in Batman v Superman. The rest of the cast isn’t better. Fox is on autopilot, Arnett is still unfunny, Amell can’t act, Laura Linney (who is probably trying) can’t work with the terrible script she was given, and the side characters couldn’t be more annoying.
This movie’s dialog is some of the dumbest I’ve heard all year! Every time the writers try to explain the science behind the villain’s plan, it sounds like they Googled “sciencey terms” and just threw a bunch of sentence fragments together. One of the major points of the movie is that the turtles want to be out in the open and socially accepted (even though they didn’t care much about that in the last movie). This is referenced in the “Out of the Shadows” part of the title. This conflict really isn’t the main focus of the movie, stopping Shredder is. Yeah, he’s in this movie despite falling off of a building to the ground in his robotic metal suit. Karai (who still has no character) is also alive despite crashing in a car at high speeds coming down a mountain. I don’t know why the heck they brought back these characters, especially considering that what ultimately happens nullifies their whole purpose in the movie.
Somehow this film managed to be even less funny than its predecessor. Only Mikey gets the passable jokes, which even then are few and far between. Any joke said by any other character is painful. The opening shows some promise, but you’ll quickly discover that the rest of the movie can’t back up the first 3 minutes. You’ll also realize that the director has no idea how to shoot action scenes. Give Jonathan Liebesman this, he knows what a wide shot is. In Out of the Shadows, there are a plethora of disgusting close-ups and shaky cam during the action scenes. It doesn’t help that the CGI is even worse now. The last thing I want to talk about is the way the Turtles have to stop Shredder. It involves the “find X amount of pieces that create an evil machine” plot, and since that cliché has been overused, you know exactly what is going to happen. By the way, the doomsday machine is an unapologetic rip-off of the Death Star. It’s a big station made of metal in the shape of a circle with a gun that can destroy entire civilizations. Really guys? How freaking lazy can you get?
I honestly can’t tell which one of these TMNT reboots is worse. I enjoyed the previous one more, but even that ain’t saying much. I just hope we don’t get another sequel. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows gets Guy’s Guru Grade of a D-. I can’t believe the writers of Mission: Impossible-Ghost Protocol wrote these piles of reptilian trash.