Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows is a sequel to the 2014 live-action TMNT movie franchise reboot from producer Michael Bay (Transformers) and director Jonathan Liebesman (Wrath of the Titans). The Earth to Echo helmsman Dave Green stepped in to take Liebesman's place and call the shots on Out of the Shadows, with Bay once again producing. The TMNT sequel also recasts Brian Tee (The Wolverine) in the role of Shredder, while at the same time serving as the big screen debut for such beloved TMNT cartoon TV show and comic book baddies as Shredder's mutated henchmen Bebop (Gary Anthony Williams) and Rocksteady (Stephen Farrelly) - as well as the not so friendly alien Krang (voiced by Brad Garrett).
So far, Out of the Shadows has been promoted to the Turtle-loving masses as being not only a sequel that features more actual Turtles screen time, but also one where the people involved behind the scenes - including the returning screenwriters Josh Applebaum and André Nemec - took the criticism levied against the 2014 film to heart. The first Out of the Shadows reviews support this idea, indicating that the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sequel is, in fact, an improvement on its predecessor; whether or not it's enough of an improvement on the 2014 film, that's another matter.
First, though, here is an official synopsis for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows:
Michelangelo, Donatello, Leonardo, and Raphael return to theaters this summer to battle bigger, badder villains, alongside April O’Neil (Megan Fox), Vern Fenwick (Will Arnett), and a newcomer: the hockey-masked vigilante Casey Jones (Stephen Amell). After supervillain Shredder escapes custody, he joins forces with mad scientist Baxter Stockman (Tyler Perry) and two dimwitted henchmen, Bebop (Gary Anthony Williams) and Rocksteady (WWE Superstar Stephen “Sheamus” Farrelly), to unleash a diabolical plan to take over the world. As the Turtles prepare to take on Shredder and his new crew, they find themselves facing an even greater evil with similar intentions: the notorious Krang.
You can check out excerpts from some of the first Out of the Shadows reviews below (click their respective links for the full reviews):
Den of Geek - Matt Edwards
Let me be clear; the issues with story in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows are nowhere near as severe as those in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014). However, perhaps owing to the number of characters that needed to be set up, there’s a charging, chaotic feel to the first half an hour, as we zip from event to event. Even after this, it just doesn’t quite hang together... It feels a bit odd giving this film the same star rating that I gave the first (a rating I stand by), as it is miles better. I do think it’s a three star film, but it’s a three star film that I kind of love. This is why star ratings are rubbish. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows is a big, fun summer blockbuster, and one that Turtles fans are likely to get a massive kick out of.
HeyUGuys - Amon Warmann
At one point in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, one character tells another to “just roll with it”. It’s a statement that can be applied to the film as a whole, as although the sequel improves on the underwhelming 2014 effort your level of enjoyment will depend on your tolerance for convenient plotting and uninspired villainy... There’s definitely fun to be had with Out of the Shadows, but the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sequel fails to maximise the potential of the franchise.
Game Spot - Edmond Tran
Out of the Shadows is focused and confident in its execution without taking itself too seriously. It trades in nostalgia, but does so in a way that shows admiration for the franchise and its characters, while hitting the balance necessary to make it consistently entertaining for new and returning audiences. It’s defined by levity, and brings the spirit of '80s entertainment into present day, prioritising amusement and heart, complete with feel-good moral lessons and a catchy theme tune.
Digital Spy - Emma Dibdin
[Everything] about the film feels half-hearted, from its paint-by-numbers plot to its disengaged cast to its occasional stabs at emotional stakes... A heightened sense of humour probably makes Out of the Shadows a slight improvement on its po-faced predecessor, but it's a loud, bright, brainless mess whose greatest asset is its snappy 112-minute running time.
Empire Online - Emma Thrower
There was little reason to celebrate a sequel to 2014’s diabolical Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. But surprisingly, Out Of The Shadows is considerably better than its predecessor. At least, that is, for a third of its running time... The slick first third may seem like a different franchise to the turtles’ 2014 outing, but Out Of The Shadows soon unravels [with] another bland final act containing yet more people looking up at the sky.
The Guardian - Mike McCahill
[Out of the Shadows] is assembled with consummate slickness, nominal director Dave Green – following up 2014’s semi-heartfelt Earth to Echo – approving many of the right effects shots. Yet only [Michael] Bay could conceive of blowing this much time and cash on identifying the exact spot at which zesty, subversive trash (as the Turtles might once have been) sours into ugly, empty junk, assembled solely to school our young in brute market forces and indiscriminate consumption.
As you can see, certain Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows reviews are of the generally positive variety. Others, however, suggest that this TMNT sequel will probably only please die-hard Turtles fans and/or those who also enjoyed the 2014 movie - and on the whole, it sounds as though Out of the Shadows is too stylistically and tonally similar to the Bay-produced Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot to completely win over either the critics or the casual filmgoers who found little to nothing to like about that 2014 live-action installment in the franchise. The silver lining in all that, as mentioned before, is that most every review thus far (positive, negative, or something in between) appears to agree that Out of the Shadows is a step up from the 2014 TMNT reboot.
In other words: if you enjoyed the 2014 TMNT reboot for what it was, then it sounds like Out of the Shadows will deliver an equally entertaining (if not better) time at the movies, too.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows opens in U.S. theaters on June 3rd, 2016. Look for Screen Rant's own review of the film this Friday!
Source: Various (See the above links)