While the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles continuously thrived in the comic book and animated TV show mediums throughout the 2000s and 2010s, the 1980s-born franchise’s recent track record on the big screen have been spottier by comparison. The animated 20007 TMNT movie took in $95 million on a $34 million budget, but that was a far cry from what the live-action TMNT grossed back in 1990 – and not all that better than what the latter’s sequels made during the ’90s, either. The 2014 live-action TMNT reboot, by comparison, took in close to half a billion dollars worldwide in theaters; and while the final movie result is (arguably) entertaining in its own right, many critics took the film to task for being a patchwork of ideas and tones – the result of the film having undergone multiple revisions during both its pre-production development and actual filming process.
However, those criticisms did not go unnoticed by the cast and crew working on the sequel, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows (which has no connection to the 2013 video game of the same name). Between its previously-released promotional material and the newly-unveiled Super Bowl trailer for the film (see above), Out of the Shadows looks to boast an overall more consistent tone and style than its predecessor – one that likewise sets the stage for the introduction of several fan-favorite elements of the larger TMNT mythology that go back to the original TMNT cartoon series that debuted in 1987 (and even further back, in some cases). Indeed, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows Super Bowl commercial provides the first (brief) look at one such beloved TMNT villain in the sequel: Krang.
The Out of the Shadows Super Bowl preview only recycles a bit of footage from the previously-released theatrical trailer for the film, instead offering lots of fresh glimpses at the new additions to the reboot movie franchise in this sequel – in particular, Arrow‘s Stephen Amell as human vigilante-turned Turtles ally Casey Jones, as well as human criminals-turned mutant thugs Bebop (Gary Anthony Williams) and Rocksteady (Stephen Farrelly aka. Sheamus O’Shaunessy). However, the most intriguing part of Out of the Shadows teased here is the extraterrestrial threat that the Turtles and their friends, including Megan Fox back as reporter April O’Neil, must battle in addition to Shredder (now played by Brian Tee) and his Foot Soldiers and hired muscle alike.
While the initial Out of the Shadows theatrical preview also foreshadowed a battle between the Turtles and some unspecified other-worldly threat, producer Michael Bay and tie-in marketing material for the TMNT sequel have since let the cat out of the bag: the movie will serve as the live-action debut of fan-favorite alien villain Krang to the big screen. What remains to be seen, though, is how significant a role Krang will play in the film; most of the Out of the Shadows footage unveiled to date has placed a heavy emphasis on the fight between the four Turtles and Shredder’s henchmen (Bebop and Rocksteady in particular), suggesting that Krang may not enter the picture until the third act of the movie’s narrative. Similarly, the Super Bowl TV commercial indicates that Krang may be, in essence, the “final boss” that the Turtles face in Out of the Shadows.
Either way you cut it, the Super Bowl trailer further indicates that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows is going to serve as a soft reboot (or, if you prefer, partial do-over) for the rebooted TMNT live-action movie franchise. Case in point: most of the new characters in Out of the Shadows will set up fresh story threads completely unconnected to the 2014 TMNT movie (ones that can be carried forward in a third installment no less) – and even certain returning players have either been recast or they look to play a smaller role, this time around (see Will Arnett as April’s cameraman, Vernon Fenwick).
Question is, will Out of the Shadows be a successful example of course-correction for the TMNT series? The returning screenwriters André Nemec and Josh Appelbaum, along with director Dave Green (Earth to Echo) taking over for Jonathan Liebesman, seem to have a firm grasp on the tone they’re aiming for here, while the action sequences and visual effects for the TMNT sequel appear to be an improvement, compared to those from its predecessor. All the same, the “go big or go home” sequel strategy that Out of the Shadows is embracing has traditionally given rise to a miss as often as it produces a hit, but for now Out of the Shadows seems like it could be good ol’ goofy fun.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows opens in U.S. theaters on June 3rd, 2016.
Source: Paramount Pictures