Fast forward a year and the announcement that Stephen Amell had been cast as Casey Jones, I decided to lift that self-imposed ban. I would be willing to sit through a movie just to see how Amell would handle the role. But that's not to say I had any expectations of the movie as a whole.
The Nerdy Pumpkin and I finally got around to seeing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows and I really must say, it was a ridiculously fun movie.
|Like, "buy a bunch of action figures", fun.|
Out of the Shadows takes place one year after the events of the first movie. The turtles continue to live in hiding, afraid of what would happen if people discovered their existence. That kind of life takes a toll on them, and Michelangelo most especially, who longs for a life outside of the sewers.
The movie spent the first twenty minutes (or so it felt) checking in with the cast, reacquainting us with everyone. We see the turtles right out of the gate. Vernon Fenwick is the hero of New York after taking the credit for bringing the Shredder to justice. April O'Neil is doing deep-cover reporting, following Baxter Stockman, a scientist she believes works for the Shredder.
It's not until we meet Casey Jones does the movie really kick in as the Foot Clan moves to bust Shredder out of jail.
Oh, be wary, there are SPOILERS ahead so consider yourself warned.
Without exaggeration, the movie is 100% fan service. Is that a drawback? Maybe, because the fans they are catering to are fans of the early-90s animated series. Sure, they manage to sprinkle a few references to other media in there, like a Stan Lee-style cameo by TMNT co-creator Kevin Eastman and a jukebox playing a Vanilla Ice song, but really they're just capitalizing on the nostalgia of the original cartoon. Having Shredder, Krang, Bebop, and Rocksteady all provide the antagonism for the turtles is classic, and luckily for everyone director Dave Green made it work.
Unfortunately, much of the characterization is over-the-top, especially in the case of Bebop and Rocksteady. These two are played as complete nitwits, the kind of criminals that would get themselves killed in the first heist they ever took part in because they don't know their right from left. In a cartoon, it makes sense. Here, it often became just barely tolerable to borderline annoying. Did it fit with the characters, though? Yeah, pretty much.
|Like this, but with more slapping Karai in the face with a laptop.|
Also, they gave a nice nod to the original film (the 1990 one, the one we all give a shit about) by keeping the animosity between Casey and Raphael when the pair first meet.
|Unfortunately the cricket joke doesn't return.|
|And looking very much like Neil Degrasse Tyson while he does it.|
|Pictured: Pointless. (Also, not in this movie)|
I know, I know. You're wondering about Krang. Well, he was mostly ridiculous. His first appearance on-screen did little more than set the events into motion but it felt more like an NPC in a video game giving a player their quest than it did the motivations for a major motion picture. We don't really see him again until the final scene when he faces off against the turtles for the first time but by then we really understand he's the big bad guy that everyone in Dimension X (never named in the film so don't get your hopes up) lives in fear of. Also, he's voiced by Brad Garrett of "Everybody Loves Raymond" fame and admittedly I wasn't sure if it would work out for me but in the end, Garrett did a pretty good job with it.
But the real saving grace is the humor. You probably think I'm insane but hear me out. Whereas the first movie was filled with juvenile, puerile humor, the jokes in Out of the Shadows land almost every time. Maybe it's nostalgia-glasses making me more susceptible to the comedy, but I can't even remember when I laughed more often in a movie theater. So I'm definitely grateful for that.
Granted, Out of the Shadows is not a perfect film. In most people's eyes, it's not even a good film, and I won't fault them for thinking that. It is a loud, bright, obnoxious action flick that is aimed toward children and man-children alike. Much of the plot is moved forward by characters making inferred guesses at what needs to happen, not to mention how quickly they're able to fly to the Amazon rain forest and back (according to Google, a flight to Brazil from NYC is between 9 and 11 hours, yet they get there and back what seems like an afternoon). I could, of course, nitpick very many things in the movie but considering they at least tried to appeal to fans like me instead of blazing their own trail and ignore what made TMNT fun, I'd rather just sit back and enjoy the movie.
Oh, and did I mention the Technodrome? Because they put the fucking Technodrome into this thing. If that's not fan service, I don't know what is.