Rare is the movie sequel that improves upon the previous instalment.
As unexpected as it may be, ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows’ may just prove to be one such movie. We're not exactly talking about a quantum leap in terms of quality, so you may want to avoid that leap of joy if you were hoping for big things from this movie.
Loosely similar to 1991's ‘The Secret of The Ooze', ‘Out of the Shadows’ picks up where the last one left off. Shredder has been defeated, while the Turtles don't exactly bask in the glory of their victory, still unable to reveal themselves to the world for fear of the consequences.
Things quickly change when Shredder manages to break out of prison, thanks to teleportation technology from scientist Dr Baxter Stockman (Tyler Perry). It is revealed that the mysterious technology is supplied by a Dimension X warlord/brain-robot thing called Krang. Shredder pledges to help Krang set up portals for an invasion of Earth, in return for help in dealing with the Turtles.
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Onboard that same vehicle is the pair of goofy henchmen, Bebop (Gary Anthony Williams) and Rocksteady (amusingly played by WWE's Sheamus), who are eventually turned into their familiar warthog and rhinoceros forms by Krang's dubious ooze.
A big improvement from the 2014 instalment is the camerawork with regards to the action sequences. A movie that's produced by Michael Bay means spinning shots and complicated camerawork, but the shots in ‘Out of the Shadows’ aren't as frantic and distracting as that of the 2014 movie, and this drastically improves the view-ability of the action scenes as a whole.
Megan Fox reprises her role as April O'Neil and delivers a performance that's a lot less flat than her first go-around, serving as the investigative glue of the team. The real laughs of the movie lie with the slightly underused Will Arnett and his Vern Fenwick character.
Indeed, the ex-cameraman of April has now become a celebrity, due to him taking the credit for the Turtles' exploits during the first movie, and he's good for a laugh in just about every scene he appears in, even fraternising with celebrities such as supermodel/Victoria's Secret Angel Alessandra Ambrosio and NBA star Carmelo Anthony.
However, it's much more than improved action and more laughs that really improves this sequel. More than anything, the movie really does seem to be coming “out of the shadows” with itself. The addition of Krang, Jones, Bebop and Rocksteady do help to lend a sense of over-the-top colour and silliness to the movie, which it embraces.
There's a ridiculousness to it all, but the movie plays better compared to the first one, where it seemed to be trying to toe a line between a more serious, gritty take and just pure fun. And free of the burden of having to reintroduce the characters to the world, the sequel's jokes land more frequently., even if they're still of the more childish variety.
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There are still many problems with the movie. The writers attempt to introduce a subplot where there is a possibility of the ooze turning the turtles back into humans, which would make them easier to be accepted by humans and society at whole.
This is supposed to introduce conflict between the group, but it doesn't really have the intended effect as nobody is really convinced that it's ever going to happen, for a multitude of reasons. Also, the movie's supposed to be for kids but the one of the first scenes involves Megan Fox changing into a hot schoolgirl outfit for seduction purposes, which may or may not be appropriate for your child.
But with all that being said, the problems seem minute this time around.
‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows’ is a movie that will likely deliver fun in spades for its intended audience: the kids.
New characters and a more consistent tone make for a movie that's sure of itself, and that in turn delivers more laughs and fun than its 2014 predecessor.
‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows’ opens in Singapore 2 June 2016