It’s great to watch a movie bursting at the seams with nostalgia. We all long for the days of sitting down in our PJ’s with a bowl of sugary cereal as we watch hours upon hours of Saturday morning cartoons. But eventually, as much as we appreciate yesteryear, we realize our age and it becomes evident that a coherent story is necessary for something to be truly entertaining.
Nostalgia saved 2014’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot from being a complete waste of time. The camaraderie between the four titular characters was the best thing the movie had going for it. The sequel, Out of the Shadows, is once again produced by Transformers and Bad Boys helmsmen, Michael Bay while Dave Green steps into the Director’s chair. One year after thwarting arch nemesis Sherdder’s moronic plan, the charismatic foursome, leader Leonardo (Pete Ploszek), brainy Donatello (Jeremy Howard), grumpy Raphael (Alan Ritchson), and goofball Michelangelo (Noel Fisher), continue to live under the streets of New York City with their giant rat sensei Splinter (Tony Shalhoub). When reporter and Ninja Turtle BFF April O’Neil (Megan Fox) stumbles onto scientist Baxter Stockman (Tyler Perry)’s plan to break Shredder (Brian Tee) out of prison, the turtles are forced back into action.
Several new characters are infused into this sequel, each of which longtime fans will be familiar with. Arrow’s Stephen Amell steps in as Hockey mask wearing vigilante Casey Jones, while Gary Anthony Williams and wrestler Sheamus bring Shredder’s mutated henchmen Bebop and Rocksteady to cinematic life for the first time. Personally it’s hard for me to break through the nostalgia of seeing Bebop and Rocksteady (popular characters from the 80’s cartoon) on the big screen for the first time to make an unbiased assessment of their performance. The same can’t be said for Amell’s lackluster portrayal of fan favorite Casey Jones. Longtime TMNT villain Krang is also shoe horned into the movie, and while it’s nice to see an adversary other than Shredder in a Turtles movie, the appearance of this character is beyond irrelevant in this film.
Once again, everything involving the Ninja Turtles themselves is great. From their quips and endearing brotherly interaction to their lessons learned about teamwork, they again make the movie worth seeing for fans. But the plot to this movie is even more manic and thrown together than the first movie’s story was. These movies make Ninja Turtles 3’s (1993) plot involving time travel seem relatively coherent. It also doesn’t help that Brian Tee’s Shredder bares virtually no resemblance to the first film’s version. Sure, Out of the Shadows is nostalgic and the action is fun in doses (when the CGI isn’t noticeably spotty) and the original theme song in the ending credits is a grin inducing nice touch. But at some point it would be nice to do the original comics justice and make a movie where the story doesn’t seem like it was written by 90’s kids when they were still in 3rd grade.
FINAL GRADE: C