Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows is a far superior film to the original. Apart from the ridiculous, Michael Bay sexualization of April O' Neil (Megan Fox), the sequel captures the spirit of the 80s cartoon and comic books. The new characters are entertaining. They successfully contribute to the ambiance of the film. It also helps that the action scenes are much bigger and slickly produced. It's turtle power on steroids. The story is hokey as hell with moments of atrocious dialogue. But that's not too much of a sin. TMNT 2 is a kids film aiming to please adults that grew up with the turtles. This time around they nailed it.
The story picks up a year later with the turtles secretly fighting crime in New York City. Their heroics defeating Shredder (Brian Tee) were credited to goofy cameraman, Vernon Fenwick (Will Arnett); who has lapped up the celebrity glory. April is still a plucky reporter sniffing out baddies. She believes a famous scientist (Tyler Perry) is in league with The Foot Clan's efforts to free Shredder. The conspiracy takes a strange turn with the intervention of a moody alien overlord, Krang (Brad Garrett); with his sights set on world domination.
TMNT 2 plays like an episode of the classic cartoon. Rocksteady and BeBop (Stephen Farrelly and Gary Anthony Williams) were exactly like I remembered as a child, big, dumb and goofy. Even Casey Jones (Stephen Amell) with his hockey mask and stick seemed perfectly nostalgic. I wish I had a bowl of sugary cereal to gobble during the screening. It's light fare, breezy with loads of action. The set pieces come fast and furious as the silly plot pours like a spigot. The filmmakers correctly concentrated on what makes the turtles fun. They kick ass while arguing amongst themselves. The other characters are either trying to keep up, or hanging on to the turtles madcap heroics.
Shredder and April O'Neil are the weak links. Brian Tee doesn't do much except snarl and bark orders. He's about as villainous as a can opener. Megan Fox's second stab at April O'Neil is a tad better, but I still completely disagree with how she's interpreted. April's character shouldn't be a sex object that uses physical appeal to accomplish goals. Never saw that in the source material. Producer Michael Bay's horny teen vision of women strikes again. Critics have dogged him for years about his juvenile approach, but his films print money regardless. I guess there is no accounting for good taste.
The heroes on the half shell finally get a worthy film adaptation. I can't imagine turtle fans being disappointed here. The filmmakers went full turtle and it pays off. Plus, it's not nearly as dark as the other genre films looting the box office. The 3D also looks amazing. A plane crash sequence will have you clutching your chair like a roller coaster.