There’s one thing that’s abundantly clear after you leave a screening of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows. It’s that you realize, right away, just how much better this Turtles movie is over 2014’s
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. And when I say, that I mean it. Out of the Shadows is incredible! Where the first Michael Bay Turtles movie relied heavily on the set-up and back-story of the Turtles, Out of the Shadows throws you right into the Turtles world without any of that pesky story set-up or back-story to get in the way, and it really makes for one hell of a fun ride. While Bay’s first Turtles movie had some really wonderful action sequences, Out of the Shadows not only out does the previous Turtles movie, but it also captures the comic book essence of the Turtles, which give us a comic book brought to life on the big screen.
Each scene in Out of the Shadows feels/looks like a comic book panel has come bursting off of the page. Even the story line here is more comic-oriented. The jokes are very comic book esque. Here’s a breakdown of the story: Shredder (brought to life perfectly by Brian Tee) is in prison. Baxter Stockman (who is played by the under-rated and highly nerdy Tyler Perry–pay attention to his laugh in Out of the Shadows), has been hatching a plan to bust him out. April O’Neil discovers this and puts the Turtles on the case. However, the Turtles
are unable to stop Shredder from escaping as they don’t anticipate Stockman’s plan of opening a dimensional portal to get him out. The portal sucks Shredder out too early and he lands into the hands of Krang (who is voiced by Everybody Loves Raymond’s Brad Garrett).
If Turtles fans have any issues with Out of the Shadows it might be with how Director Dave Green revises the Turtles mythology slightly. Here in Out of the Shadows Green pits Krang as a dark overload who enlists Shredder to help him with his plan open another, bigger portal into Earth so he can wreck havoc there. Where things differ is how it all ends between Krang and Shredder. It doesn’t end well for either of them, but one ends up frozen and locked in a prison–no doubt setting the franchise up yet another Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film to follow next year, perhaps. Out of the Shadows is a perfect summer Hollywood action blockbuster.
It really has it all, and this time around, Director Dave Green has taken care to fix the 3D elements that were sort of lacking in the first film. This time around, too, whereas, in the Bay’s first Turtles movie, the human characters (April, Vern, villains) sort of served as the main characters of the story, here they are almost just really secondary side players. They’re part of the story but they aren’t the main characters, the Turtles are, and that’s the way it should be. Also, coming into the story line here is Casey Jones. Jones is played by the star of the CW’s hit show Arrow, Stephen Amell. As Casey Jones, he’s fine. There will always be a small part of you as a Turtles fan however, that wishes that Amell would’ve added that Clint Eastwood vocal infliction into this interpretation of Jones for Out of the Shadows. With Jones, there’s another, mythology skewing in the film as well. As we all know how Casey Jones became Casey Jones in the Turtles mythology, here we are introduced to Jones and we understand in the first 10 minutes of the movie exactly how the hockey mask hero is created.
There are some really stunning action sequence in Out of the Shadows. While most may remember the downhill slide sequence from the 2014 Turtles film, here in Out of the Shadows each action sequence is like that, but better. The most memorable sequences in Out of the Shadows include the opening Shredder prison break sequence, the airplane in Brazil sequence, and of course, the finale which features the Turtles in the sky above New York City surfing the construction of Krang’s Technodrome. The finale of Out of the Shadows is dazzling. The Turtles fight against Krang and the sequence goes on for quite a long time, and given the architecture of the Technodrome and it’s construction during this sequence, one feels like they’re seeing a live-action Futurist / Kandinsky painting come to life on the screen.
It’s really impressive and awe-inspiring when you consider all the work that went into this film to create these CGI creatures and effects. The creation of Krang is really impressive as well, and in the flesh he’s way more frightening and gross than any cartoon could ever portray him. Out of the Shadows is a thrill ride. It’s funny, action-packed, and it has a lot of heart. And most importantly, it’s a literal comic book brought to life for the screen. Which is all us Turtles fans have ever wanted from any Turtles movie ever. Out of the Shadows, finally, gives us what we’ve all been hoping that a Turtles movie would deliver. It’s about time.