Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows review: avoid at all costs

It's a lean, mean, radioactive garbage machine

If ever there was an example needed to showcase why some fan-adored properties should be left alone, instead of being excavated, mishandled and inevitably destroying whatever remains of what once was, it's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows.

To say this movie is abysmal still doesn't capture the level of groaning and head shaking I experienced while watching it. The rancid pile of vomit left in the corner of the theater by one of the audience members after the movie, however, perhaps best sums it up.

From the very moment the movie begins — mixing classic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles catchphrases with disorienting cinematography made worse by exaggerated 3D effects — to the minute it ends, there's not much to celebrate about the film.

There is nothing this movie has going for it

It's not funny, despite the writers and director's best attempts to color the movie with slapstick comedy and terrible jokes whenever possible, and relies far too heavily on the nostalgia of its audience to try and succeed.

The characters are introduced in such a rushed fashion that it's hard to see them as anything more than caricatures of who they're supposed to be. Because of that, it's hard to take any of their more dramatic moments seriously, and the faux empathy we're supposed to feel for the alien-looking, giant turtles never actually surfaces.

Even with the worst movies, I can usually find something positive to focus on, but no film has made that more difficult than Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows. Aside from blatant fan pandering, there is nothing this movie has going for it.


A sequel to 2014's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Out of the Shadows takes place almost directly where the last film ended. Shredder is in prison, the Turtles are still hiding from the city they single handily saved and, staying true to the fantasy world the series is known for, the Knicks are winning.

It doesn't take long for Shredder to break out of police custody, however, and team up with, Krang, a new villain with a thirst for world domination. Together, the two launch a plan to take down the gang of green-skinned brothers threatening their existence and take over New York City.  While Shredder and Krang are plotting their attack, however, the four turtles have re-teamed with journalist April O'Neal (Megan Fox), camera man-turned-city hero Vern (Will Arnett) and newcomer Casey Jones (Stephen Amell) to make sure that doesn't happen.

If the plot sounds like it's been done before and, for lack of a kinder phrase, utterly boring, that's because it has and it is.

There are moments within Out of the Shadows that don't just resemble momentous scenes in movies like The Avengers, but actually mirror them detail for detail. I was half-expecting Iron Man to dart out of the sky at any moment, and maybe that would have made the movie a little more bearable.

The problem lies within the movie's lack of personal identity. It doesn't feel like its own entity, but rather a puzzle built up of smaller pieces taken from every blockbuster released over the past decade. In many ways, it feels like an attempt at an homage to the new blockbuster. Disappointing, but not overly surprising, considering this is director Dave Green's first major project.

Problem lies within the movie's lack of personal identity

What Out of the Shadows needed to do to be successful is tear itself away from the first film, as much as it could, and reinvent itself. Instead, the sequel feels like a bored follow-up, with little interest in paving a new path and choosing to stick with the unimaginative dreck that plagued the first title.

All of these aspects combined make for the worst type of movie-going experience: an apathetic one. The type of movie where you end up checking the time on your phone more often than not to try and convince yourself you can make it through. It's the type of movie where you end up spending $6 on a bag of popcorn because the idea of standing in line and getting some soggy, over-buttered theater food is better than sitting through the next scene. It's the type of movie that you'd be better off never having seen, but definitely should not spend upwards of $10 on.

There's one other aspect of the movie that should be addressed and it's the unsurprising, but still endlessly disappointing over-sexualization of Megan Fox.

Megan Fox

From the slowed-down speed to allow a long, body length pan of Fox in her school-girl outfit to the shampoo commercial-inspired toss of the hair, everything about this scene was meaningless and totally unneeded.

This isn't the first time Fox's appearance has been the focal point of her character's worth in a Michael Bay production (the Transformers director produced the film), but Out of the Shadows barely gave Fox a chance to introduce her character as more than a sex object before being completely objectified.

None of which is Fox's fault. The actress, is by and large, one of the better parts of the movie. But as much as she tries to get away from being the point of ogling for the rest of the characters, she's unfortunately brought right back to it time and time again.

This scene in particular felt unnecessary and gross

There's no denying that Fox is attractive, but being attractive doesn't mean she should be subjected to being the objectified woman in every movie she appears in. Especially, as is the case with Out of the Shadows, when there's absolutely no reason why she had to do that scene. The movie would have continued along just as well without it.

Making a terrible movie is one thing, but using sexualized versions of female actors to try and spice it up or keep the audience's attention is just sad and an antiquated approach to filmmaking.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows is a movie, that for every conceivable reason, should not exist. It will, undoubtedly, make enough money at the box office to warrant a third movie and that film will inevitably be made. That's the problem; no one is pulling the emergency brake on bad franchise movies anymore and the audience has to suffer for it.

I could go on and on about why Out of the Shadows should be avoided at any cost, but simply put, this just isn't a movie worth investing your time into.