Surprisingly better than the first with less issues, but some of the same problems. I remember seeing trailers for this movie, but I can’t for the life of me remember if I have actually seen this movie prior to this watch. I mean I know the gist of it and who the new villains are and everything, but I just can’t put together if what I know about it is from watching it or just watching the trailers. It was a mystery to me as I started watching it, but one thing is for sure, I was expecting improvement on the first film since there were some issues I had with it. I was surprised the even greenlit a sequel, but hey, someone thought it was a good idea and not me, so let’s see what I thought of it.
First off, I want to say that it was very interesting that this movie decided to showcase the Knicks in the beginning of the movie. I know that it takes place in New York, but they are a terrible team and I think were still terrible in 2016 if I remember right. It was kind of cool though to see Deandre Jordan and Carmelo Anthony in the movie. I’m a basketball fan, so it appeals more to me than most of you I’m sure.
This movie picks up where we left off at the end of the first film. Shredder is in jail and the turtles are still doing their secret thing of saving people but doing it in the shadows. Which makes perfect sense of naming this movie “Out of the Shadows”. It makes sense throughout the film as the turtles have chances to become “normal” but struggle with that choice over accepting themselves as who they are. In the end they come out of the shadows after being accepted by others for who they are, while also keeping secret for the most part.
Surprisingly this movie like the first one is a lot deeper sometimes with its themes and messages that it’s trying to get across. Sure the movie is incredibly cartoony, but it still is also teaching a lesson of acceptance for who you are. This is a message that makes sense for the turtles but also plays into our own lives with ourselves or people we know. I applaud this movie because it is also targeted towards kids, so it’s a message that is important for them to understand and I appreciate their focus being on more than just telling a silly story.
One thing we did get in this movie though were new characters like Krang, Bebop, and Rocksteady. They are all the main antagonists for the turtles for this film, but we also got Casey Jones as a new hero character. I may be a little biased in liking Casey Jones as much as I do since he’s played by Stephen Amell who I really like from his work on Arrow, but I still think he’s pretty good in this movie. It’s not a role that he has a lot of depth or character to work with and his hockey schtick fits more in an animated world than in a live action movie, but I tended to look past it.
Bebop and Rocksteady also feel as if they were pulled right out of the comics or animated universe, and I will admit that the CGI also looks very cartoony, but for some reason it just worked for me. I’m not sure why, but the full embrace of the cartoony elements was what made me really enjoy this movie. They were ridiculous and had very silly dialogue, but they were also a formidable foe. The only downside was that they didn’t face off against the turtles in the end. Rather Casey managed to take care of them by himself which seemed like a bit of a stretch.
That leaves me with Shredder and Krang as the two main villains of this movie. Krang is introduced very early on in the film when Shredder is teleported by Tyler Perry and ends up in a different dimension where he meets Krang. I do want to say that following the cartoony feel, Tyler Perry is super cartoony but so funny at the same time and I was loving his character as the scientist. Back to Shredder though, he is great for the whole movie, especially with him getting back to having a much more subtle costume than what he had in the first film. The downside though is as soon as Krang shows up at the end, Shredder is sidelined to not being even relevant in the final battle.
Krang though is surprisingly hilarious as a character, both in his demeanor and in his actual look. He’s a character that on paper when you look at him from the comics or the animated shows just doesn’t feel like something realistic enough to work but somehow he does. Now he isn’t quite as involved as I’d hoped he would be and really isn’t that threatening, but he was a joy to watch on screen and I would love to have seen him come back in a sequel that is probably not ever going to happen.
This brings me to the turtles who as I said in my review of the first film are full of heart and are fun to watch. In the first film we had more focus on Raph as he was coming to terms with Leo as the leader. In this film though we have a much deeper philosophical decision that the turtles have to make that divides them. It’s not just coming to terms with who they are and the unfortunate decision of whether to try to be human or keep things the same, but also coming together as brothers and as a team.
Throughout the film we go through an arc of them working well together and being as close as ever, but then new developments lead to a discovery that could change their lives for good. Leo takes advantage of being the leader and makes the decision on his own without consulting with the others. This creates a rift between all of them that ends up leading to their disaster of a plan to recover the dimension item thing in South America. It’s only after that and that they come to terms with who they are and what they need to be and come back together as brothers and a team. Again, it’s a story with a lot of heart and some great character growth that I wasn’t expecting out of this movie.
I said that this movie has problems which of course it does just like the other film, but it actually ended up being an improvement on the first film. It’s one of those movies that you just have to accept it for what it’s trying to be, just like the turtles accepting who they are. I knew that this movie was going to be goofy and not have the best CGI or acting and whatnot, but I was looking for the heart of the first film and the fun time which it excelled at. I can’t say that I should be recommending this movie to anyone because I may be one of the few people that actually liked it, but I think if you sort of liked the first one then you should give this one a chance for sure. This might be on my list of guilty pleasures because I really enjoyed it more than I thought I would.