5 June 2016 | kevin_newdirections
TMNT 2 Out of the Shadows honors the "cartoon spirit"
TMNT 2 is silly and flamboyant enough to work as a live-action cartoon movie. It embraces its crazy plot (the story operates in a world where mutant turtles have been taught martial arts by a mutant rat, 'nuff said). However, the film suffers a lot of what we can call "convenient circumstances" — unaddressed plot holes are deliberately ignored by forgetting events and characters being conveniently placed at locations to advance the plot without explanation whatsoever. Also, it may be nitpicking but there's no attempt to explain how these turtles become experts in crafting CIA-level tech.
The level of humor in this film is clearly catered to a young audience. For adults, you may get a healthy dose of nostalgia if you were once that kid who were really into the cartoons, otherwise you'll find the script stale. The fun interactions between the brothers are still present but what gives them more depth here is when they start to experience teenage anxiety – issues of belonging and identity. I'm keeping it vague so as not to spoil anything, but yes, they actually have a subplot this time! Sadly, things aren't sustained as the film rushes through, ending it in favor of a big climactic action sequence.
Speaking of action sequences, the movie never strays away from the basic Michael Bay blockbuster formula (he's the producer, of course): over-the-top CGI-heavy destruction, one action set piece after another. If the first TMNT movie offers a fun-filled chase down a snowy mountain, the most adrenaline-pumping action sequence here starts with skydiving and ends with a waterfall jump. The film also takes the liberty in ripping-off previous blockbusters – a retrofitted garbage-slash-war truck (Mad Max), a via inter-dimensional sky portal alien invasion (The Avengers) and a police car chase/prisoner escape scene (The Dark Knight and Fast and Furious). And as if to acknowledge the debt, Raphael mutters to himself, "What would Vin Diesel do?"
Remarkably, there is an improvement in the CGI department, more specifically with the look of the ninja turtles – less gritty, more friendly-looking. The voice actors are not to be faulted in giving better distinction to their characters' personalities –the leader (Leo), the muscle (Raph), the brains (Donnie) and the wild one (Mikey). And just to make sure that viewers won't be confused again, they are re-introduced twice in the film (which is odd). Megan Fox, as the main human protagonist, however still fails in-I can't believe I'm about to say this- effectively engaging the audience. She fares better as an anti-hero or villain (Jennifer's Body). Her sex appeal is even pushed to a breaking point during an inexplicable costume change scene to a sexy school-girl outfit to keep the males awake. Will Arnett's character Vern, sidelined as an comic-relief is a good choice for he does little to advance the plot. Stephen Amell obviously got the role of Casey Jones due to his physical work in "Arrow" and the fact that they needed someone equally attractive as Fox. He does his best, especially in action scenes, but him joining forces with the turtles is rushed and poorly done. Shredder, recast with Brian Tee, returns as a human and not some sort of a transformer is still lackluster as a villain. Super-villain Krang who looks hideous and remotely realistic could've better served with a more fleshed-out backstory. Of all the villains, arguably the comical mutant duo, Bebop and Rocksteady, steal the show.
There is no doubt that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows is better in nearly every way than its predecessor. It is turtle-focused and it re-wires the franchise to the right direction. I am not all "Cowabunga!" for this sequel (the plot still rots my brains), but if you're looking for two hours of frothy entertainment and 'Bay'-esque action sequences are your guilty pleasure, bring some pizzas because you're in to a one (s)hell of a ride.
Full review: http://goo.gl/xoNRno