The Summer is basically over, but we’re still ready for one more big action film right? This film has some pretty steep competition since we’ve already witnessed some all stars in Captain America and Spiderman. Godzilla provided us with an unforgettable cinematic experience and Guardians of The Galaxy continued the MCU’s streak of victories. This means that the Ninja Turtles must try to defeat Robocop, X Men Days of Future Past and Transformers. Can it do this or is it already doomed to lose? The film was essentially about as good as I thought it would be and it didn’t drag on quite as much as I had feared.
The film gives us a quick intro to the turtles as we see them train and get a feel for the surroundings. (This is what the remake film for Batman and the upcoming Dr. Strange film should definitely do) We learn that the Foot Clan was a pretty powerful organization, but the cops eventually forced them to go underground. Now, the Foot Clan is prepared to rise up once again with the mighty Shredder as their leader! Splinter commands the Turtles to refrain from visiting the outside world because they are not yet ready. The Turtles don’t really care though because they have lives to save! April O Neal gets involved after she witnesses a battle between the two sides. She wants to expose the Turtles for the heroes(?) that they are, but they don’t want this. Will the Turtles be able to take down the Shredder and will April get her scoop!? The stakes have never been higher….
First off, I have to give the film some credit for the fight scenes. The battles against the Shredder were pretty intense. I dare say that they were more fun than Wolverine’s battle against the Silver Samurai. It may not be quite up to snuff with something like Cap vs Winter Soldier, but it was still very good. I dare say that the action scenes were better than I had anticipated. The iconic battle between the Shredder and the 4 Turtles atop the tower is easily the best fight, but Splinter’s battle is pretty emotional as well.
Of course, it may not be as enjoyable if you don’t like blowouts. The four turtles are literally unable to damage Shredder in their fights until the very end where the plot demands that the film must have a happy ending. It’s 4 to 1 and Shredder is basically toying with the turtles. There were several times where he could have finished them off and he just didn’t bother. The film also makes sure to show us that Splinter could also take on the 4 turtles at once since he gave the Shredder a better fight. I really feel bad for the Turtles sometimes.
The normal action scenes against the Foot Clan is a little less entertaining. The camera angles weren’t very good so it was hard to get an accurate picture of the action. It was still pretty suspenseful and epic to see the Turtles doing so well in the shadows, but we all knew who would win. I found myself missing the pizza boy from the original films a few different times.
The soundtrack is pretty generic. Nothing that you haven’t heard before. Unfortunately, it ends up being pretty negative thanks to the rap song during the credits. Easily the worst song that I’ve heard in such a mainstream film in a long time. I really don’t like rapping and it tends to make any scene a little less enjoyable. In moderation, it is possible to have a good rap song in the background, but it’s extremely rare. Mostly because I just don’t care for the beat and the lyrics are usually pretty cringe worthy. This is one film where you should make sure to dash out as soon as the credits start. Nobody’s got time for that song!
One issue with the film is naturally the romance. This is a work that is associated with Michael Bay so I’m sure that we all expected the worst. It never gets as drastic as the early Transformer films, but it can still be very annoying and grating on the ears. Michelangelo is constantly flirting, which isn’t cool. He never stops going after April and you really want the other turtles to make him back off. Unfortunately, they tend to ignore him. April’s partner also flirts a lot, although at least he does it in a classier way. If not for one scene where he shows that he doesn’t mind stooping to low levels, he would have actually been a good character. Unfortunately, it’s hard to save such a character. At least there really isn’t much here in terms of fan service, but unnecessary flirting is still pretty bad.
One big complaint that I had with the film was the lack of pizza scenes. If you’re a TMNT fan, then you’ll know that pizza is always very involved in the franchise. It only gets one or two scenes during the flashbacks and a single appearance in the modern times. They claim that it’s a Pizza Hut slice, but it bears to resemblance to any Pizza Hut slice that I’ve ever had! Even if it did have 99 cheeses on it, the actual slice should look similar. The film really dropped the ball there and the tension in the theater was pretty ominous. I think we were all tempted to leave and go to Pizza Hut for a true slice to compare it to the film’s.
Raphael is probably the best turtle from the group, although Leonardo is close. Raphael is basically the tough member of the group, while still being very nice and gentle on the inside. It’s an “epic” plot development where he confesses what he has been holding inside all these years. Everyone else ignores him and you’re supposed to feel bad for the guy. I was just waiting for the plot to continue. Raphael is pretty confident and he may be the strongest turtle, but he’s still no match for the Shredder. Raphael is decently likable, but he’s ultimately generic and he’s essentially the winner by default.
Leonardo is close, but it’s mostly because of the fact that he’s pretty silent compared to the others. He’s the fearless leader, but he spends all of his time trying to prove his superiority to Raphael. He gets one scene where he goes up against the Shredder in a one on one fight. All I will say is that the fight scene lasts for about 2 seconds and it’s very embarrassing. We don’t see anything that proves he has what it takes to be the leader. It’s one thing to be outclassed by the villain, but Leonardo never gets any big moments. He’s just there to fill in the fourth spot. Of course, that’s better than being the flirt of the group, but we’re coming to that.
Donatello wasn’t very likable and that’s because he’s the smart guy of the group. Now, why is that a bad thing? It doesn’t have to be since we have had many cool smart characters in the past. Light Yagami, Bruce Banner, Batman, etc. The problem is that Donatello wants to be “the cool guy” and he has one scene where he proves this to the others. He should just be happy to be the smart guy, but why would he be when Foot soldiers can just hack into his systems? In that case, there’s just no winning for the guy. He definitely seems to be the weakest fighter and he actually doesn’t seem to be very smart….he just uses big words to get that vibe. Nah, he didn’t work for me in this one.
Michelangelo was easily the worst turtle. His fans may be pleased at his contribution to the big fight in the film, but it’s not nearly enough to save him. He flirts with April nonstop throughout the film. It’s pretty sad and his taste in music also isn’t that good. His mind is never on the mission and he’s not very good at hand to hand combat. He actually forgets about Raphael (along with the other turtles) after the turtle had come to save him. Michelangelo isn’t exactly a team player and he never will be at this rate. Without Michelangelo, this film actually had a pretty strong chance of cracking a 7. He just brings the whole thing down since you basically have to tune him out.
April is the main heroine of the film and it’s a little scary to think that she’s more likable than the turtles. Unfortunately, she humors Michelangelo most of the time as she never tells him to give it a rest. There’s also one scene (Most of the trailers showed this) where she faints after talking to the turtles, which was rather unrealistic. She’s a tough reporter and she had already been talking to them. Why would she faint after seeing a turtle without his headband? It seemed to have been included just to be included. I guess it would help us to remember that the turtles are supposed to be scary, but it doesn’t work. Naturally, April gets her big moments where she helps the turtles take out the Shredder.
April also may not be that smart, but it could be another script issue. Her boss doesn’t believe that the turtles are real so April gathers a lot of “evidence” to prove it. Unfortunately, she doesn’t show her boss the pictures of the turtles that she got on her phone. It could be attributed to the fact that maybe she didn’t want to show this to the boss, but why wouldn’t she? She had every reason to show it to the boss since it definitely would have exposed the turtles. As long as April steers clear of the romantic advanced from her partner and Michelangelo, she should continue to be a pretty good character. She just needs to learn to do a better job of remembering what information she has at her disposal.
Sacks is one of the big players in the film. I can’t say that he’s very likable. One could say that his public role in the film is sort of like Harvey Dent’s. He’s shaking his fist at crime and he’s ready to stop the FOOT clan once and for all. Unfortunately, he’s not quite as convincing as Harvey and he is used for a lot of exposition. The exposition was definitely one of the boring moments of the film and we didn’t need another long origin story for the olden days.
Vernon is April’s partner and he wishes that she wouldn’t mind staying on the small jobs. He actually has a fair point since she’s still getting worthwhile things to report and I think April was a little too critical. The exercise convention was actually pretty good and jumping on a trampoline with other adults is hardly as embarrassing as she made it sound. If it was only her with a lot of little toddlers then maybe it would be tricky…maybe. A lot of people really wouldn’t mind considering that it will let them bring home their check. Back to Vernon, unfortunately, he isn’t quite as tough as he likes to think he is. He gets one attack at the very end of the film, but it’s not much. He does have one scene, which basically wrecks his character so you can’t really root for him by the end.
The Shredder is a pretty great villain. It’s interesting how he only talks in japanese when he doesn’t have the armor on, but becomes fluent in English with it. I’m guessing that the armor has an auto translator or something, but it’s definitely possible that the Shredder knows both languages. Nevertheless, he performs well in combat and that’s what counts. His goal is definitely a little dubious though and he better have the antidote at the ready. His fighting skills are so good that it will be tough for a sequel to top him as a villain. Although with the cliffhanger…I may not need to worry about this too much. The Shredder is definitely one of the highlights of the film.
Splinter is pretty powerful and he’s a likable fighter when he’s in on the action. That being said, I definitely disagree with some of his decisions. There’s no good reason to keep the turtles from patrolling the streets at night. The cops already took out most of the FOOT and when does he think the turtles will ever be ready? They’re already pretty tough and there’s a limit to how strong you will end up becoming. He was definitely too strict at that point, but I’m sure that he’ll lighten up from now on….although it may be too late for that.
Did I mention that the script for the film is pretty….retro? Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to have been planned, but a lot of the lines are rather dated and they’re pretty cheesy as well. “Use an innocent as bait!” or something along those lines is uttered by the big bad Shredder! He acts as if no villain has ever done this before and his right hand woman even seems pretty shocked at the prospect. The music also quickly goes into its dramatic phase to highlight the scene as an important gamechanger. If these guys are villains, they shouldn’t have a problem with using civilians as bait. There were quite a few other lines that I could mention since they’re scattered throughout the film. I like a little cheesy dialogue in the films, but then it should be consistent and make the rest of the film cheesy as well.
I would definitely say that TMNT is a better adaption of the franchise than the Transformer films. Of course, there is less to wreck in a TMNT film, but they still covered most of the bases without depowering the turtles too much. One could argue that they’re slightly more impressive here than in their own series. I wouldn’t go that far, but they are pretty tough. The designs still look pretty terrible to me though. I seriously hope that they change the designs for the sequel and return them to how they looked in the old films or a model that looks a little bit more like the cartoons. I’m definitely all right with the Shredder’s design though since it’s pretty intense.
Overall, This film is kind of like Robocop. It’s just a fun film without anything to help it stand above the crowd. The main drawback is the excessive flirting from both Michelangelo and Vernon. Without that, the film didn’t really have any big flaws. Of course, that’s enough to hurt it a lot and the end credits scene was pretty bad as well. (The rap song hurts your ears as well) The cliffhanger may be intriguing to some and generic to others. Either way, I can safely say that I am looking forward to the next TMNT film. It should be a good one, although it won’t be great. I recommend this film if you survived through the first Transformers film to see how you compare the two. Both of them take a few shots at the original sources so that should be interesting. (Karai’s role is very disappointing for her fans and the “Cowabunga” term is used, but the Turtles look very bad in that scene…it’s one of those things) If you don’t like to see the main heroine get harassed by everyone for the entire film…this won’t be the title for you.