When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
1 corinthians 13 is a bible verse that stands in direct opposition with modern day pop culture. Grown men and women are encouraged to hang on to childhood things now more than ever, in the form of nostalgia-driven books, television and movies.
These days it’s commonplace to hang on to your affinity to childhood things, and I am not immune. I’m still a huge fan of comic books, Star Wars, and various other pop culture touchstones I devoured as a kid. Which is why I had such strong opinions about the Platinum Dunes reboot of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in 2014.
I disliked the redesign of the turtles (these aren’t MY Turtles!), I disliked the convoluted plot, I disliked the lowbrow humor.
Strange things happened during the production of that first Platinum Dunes film, which was produced by Michael Bay and directed by Jonathan Liebesman. William Fichtner was rumored to be playing Shredder, only to be revealed to be a businessman working with Shredder. The result of reshoots? Possibly. While Shredder appears in the sequel, Fichtner does not.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows opens during a Halloween parade, so Michelangelo can hang out above ground with the revelers, including someone dressed as Bumblebee from Michael Bay’s Transformers franchise.
Everyone in the city thinks that Vern Fenwick (Will Arnett) saved the city from Shredder, since the Turtles are still, at this point, in the shadows. As the title reveals, they won’t be for long. Shredder escapes from the authorities with the help of mad scientist Baxter Stockman (Tyler Perry, clearly having a ball) and recruits two dim-witted criminals to be his mutated henchmen. Bebop (Gary Anthony Williams) and Rocksteady (Pro Wrestler Sheamus) are just as you remember them from the cartoon, that is to say, dumb and played for laughs.
Arrow’s Stephen Amell shows up as Casey Jones, the crime-fighting hockey aficionado. It’s nice to see Amell break out of Oliver Queen’s eternal brooding and have fun for a change. Megan Fox was the most engaging element in the last Turtles film, and she continues that distinction here. We only see her working at the beginning (undercover as a…schoolgirl?) and end (on-camera reporting) of the movie. For the rest of the running time she’s the Turtles’ right hand woman in their fight to bring down Shredder.
They do not hint that Baxter Stockman will become a human fly (Spoiler Alert: Baxter Stockman will become a human fly), but Bax is messing around with teleportation and this brings us Krang, Dimension X’s resident brain/tentacle creature, who gets around via giant robot and has a doomsday device called the Technodrome. Krang is voiced by Brad Garrett, who spits into his microphone so much I could feel the saliva.
Laura Linney shows up as a police chief, in what I can only call the John Turturro Transformers effect.
Not only an improvement over the last TMNT movie, Out of the Shadows is a better version of 1991’s Turtles opus The Secret of the Ooze. If Platinum Dunes produces a third in this series, I expect the Turtles to travel back in time. Is it too much to hope for an Elias Koteas cameo?