Comic Vine Review

128 Comments

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Review

3

The heroes in a half shell have returned to the big screen! Come read our thoughts on the franchise's reboot.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a franchise I've always been particularly passionate about. I grew up with the animated show, bugged my parents to buy me the toys and, just like many others, dressed up as the characters for Halloween (my mom was kind enough to make me a costume one year). Needless to say, I get pretty thrilled when a new TMNT movie heads to the big screen. I was in college when the 2007 movie came out and I made sure to see it twice in theaters. Even though my love for the franchise wasn't all that strong at the time, the rooftop fight between Raphael and Leonardo blew me away and the rest of the film was legitimately enjoyable. Now, Peter Laird and Kevin Eastman's creations are getting another shot on the big screen. I'll be completely honest with you, kind readers: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles isn't a good movie, but it is a fun movie. I know that may sound silly, but stick around and I'll do my absolute best to explain!

First and foremost, the writers get the popular heroes right. Yes, these mutants may look and sound different, but none of them feel out of character and they definitely manage to entertain in the scenes that revolve around them. The character dynamics you'd expect from them are front and center and there were several bits of banter that made me laugh out loud. As usual, Raphael is the only one to walk away with some development, but the others still amuse and the proper personalities are present. It just rings true. Mikey is sure to make you chuckle at least once, Donatello's "geek factor" is played up but he serves a critical role and still shines, Raphael's temper is always on display, and Leonardo's just trying to make sure everyone gets along. And thankfully, they live in a universe that allows them to make plenty of references to other superheroes and franchises and those lines are certain to at least make you, my fellow comic book fans, smirk. So, when the heroes in a half shell are around, it's consistently lighthearted and most of the humor can appeal to moviegoers of any age.

When it comes to action scenes, Shredder's a boss and most of the battles are a good dose of amusement. Even though his armor appears to be over-the-top and clunky, he's still able to move fluidly and shows a great amount of skill. Thankfully, there tends to be an extended wide shot for the better melee fights and this allows us to really appreciate all of the movements and brutal connections. Odds are you've seen plenty of the snow chase sequence in trailers and it's without question the highlight of the movie. There's some fairly creative shots thrown in there and it's consistently thrilling. The rooftop battle with Shredder is a blast -- even if it is loaded with tropes -- and the villain's encounter with Master Splinter is also pretty exciting. However, when it comes to Shredder as a character, he's seriously lacking. The villain's agenda is totally cliche and it has quite a few plot holes along the way. To top it off, he also has some pretty silly dialogue. There's an older and memorable line that's brought back but it really doesn't work with this new tone. In a cheesy video game or cartoon? Certainly. As a legitimate threat? Not really. Sadly, there really isn't any depth to the fiends in this one and their mission is very generic and, as said above, quite flawed. There's also a noticeable amount of blatant exposition on this side of the story. I didn't mind it with the turtles (especially with the illustrated opening sequence), but it began to add up with the bad guys. Lastly, Karai is apparently just there for fans to say, "look, there's Karai!" Her role really is limited to shouting orders and failing miserably.

Aside from Splinter -- a character who looks very fake compared to everything else -- the visual effects were solid. I can't say the designs have won me over, but I've come to accept it's a totally different incarnation and, a creepy expression or two aside, I didn't mind how the turtles appeared. Their size means there's an extra emphasis on their strength and durability, but this comes at a cost: their stealth is lacking. Yes, they're still fast and skilled, but I definitely wouldn't call them sneaky (yet somehow they manage to vanish from a crazy scene in Times Square during the day without being spotted?). There's only a moment or two where the visuals faltered a bit, but the motion capture does a fine job often making it feel like these large mutants are flipping across the rooftops or interacting with the humans. Speaking of the humans, Vernon Fenwick (Will Arnett) brings a good dose of levity and charisma to the movie. I mean, did you really expect otherwise from the Arrested Development actor? Meanwhile, the movie tries too hard to tell us April O'Neil (Megan Fox) is this determined and fearless reporter instead of actually showing us. She has a moment or two of bravery, but some of her scenes with other human characters tend to drag or feel dull compared to the rest of the movie, and having her talk about how passionate she is about reporting and her career becomes repetitive and just uninteresting. So when Arnett's in her scenes, it definitely keeps things more engaging. That said, Fox does get a few moments to land the laughs. Considering she's chasing an absolutely ridiculous story, they use her serious delivery of really silly lines to drop a few laughs. There's a few lines in the film that are a bit cringeworthy, but April has a few intentionally ridiculous lines and having her say them in a completely earnest manner pays off.

As stated above, the villain's plan isn't compelling or original, and it turns out that the changes to the Ninja Turtles' origin comes off as pretty unnecessary. They take steps to establish a stronger connection between some of the leads, but it'll instead likely have you asking a few questions about the logic behind a couple of decisions and doesn't really expand the mythos all that much. In fact, the twist isn't even needed to establish a strong bond between certain characters. Still, I'd be a total liar if I said I didn't think the look at the mutants' earlier years wasn't absolutely adorable.

Is this the best Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie? No, I'd say the 1990 and 2007 ones have way more depth and much better stories. But is it a fun movie? Yes, and ultimately, isn't that what many of us want when we buy a ticket to see Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? The plot may be all kinds of generic and filled with some noticeable holes, but they do have a good grip on the team's personality and there's plenty of entertaining action and legitimately enjoyable banter along the way. It likely won't pull at your heartstrings, but they do manage to work in the message about the importance of family, too.

Very young TMNT fans will likely have a blast as they're able overlook the plot's numerous issues and just appreciate the visuals, laughs, and fighting. As for everyone else, if you're a TMNT fan that's been enjoying the recent trailers and clips, odds are you'll have a decent time. It likely won't blow you away or have you reflecting on it for very long, but it's an okay way to spend a couple of hours. But if the trailers and clips have left a bad taste in your mouth or have you feeling mostly uninterested, I seriously doubt the final product will change your mind. Honestly, that crowd would be better off seeing Guardians of the Galaxy or Dawn of the Planet of the Apes again (both are awesome, by the way).

If director Jonathan Liebesman's reboot does well enough at the global box office to warrant a sequel, I'm really hoping the next project will have a far more compelling narrative and take more steps to expand the mythos. All in all, this is a fun albeit mostly forgettable experience. The visuals, action, and humor are solid, but everything else comes off feeling pretty cliche. Oh, and if you do wind up strongly disliking the movie but still love the franchise, please remember the animated show on Nick and the IDW series are both consistently excellent!

132 Comments
  • 132 results
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
Posted by ThatGuyWithHeadPhones

3 stars..sounds about right. Can't wait to see it. Great review.

Posted by The Stegman

Pretty much what I was expecting. Got a free movie ticket, and I shall use it on this!

Posted by tparks

This review hit my expectations exactly where I thought they would be. Looking forward to some fun turtles action, but when I get home and am disappointed that it's not completely the Turtle's I want, I can open my collection of IDW comics and not care anymore. :)

Looking forward to Friday.

Posted by TheFirstLantern

So looking forward to it even though i know it wont be great. Even my dad wants to watch it. (He doesn't like anything comic book related)

Posted by Saint_Wildcard

3 stars? I learned my lesson after Age Of Extinction

Posted by CaptainHoopla

My expectations for this movie were so low, that a 3/5 review score from somebody I know loves the franchise is a positive. I don't plan on seeing it in the theater, but if I can get a couple of hours of decent entertainment later, I'll call it a win.

Posted by harashkupo

This is one the better reviews I've read from this movie. It's nice to hear someone take a fair and open approach.

Posted by MadeinBangladesh

3 stars is best you can give this movie.

Edited by McBig

That sounds exactly like what I've been expecting and wanting. A good fun tmnt film. Can't wait to see it.

Posted by RisingBean

I'll see it next week. The old 1990 version is waiting to cheer me up when I get home if this sucks.

Posted by joshmightbe

I've figured all along that it'd end up being about an average movie, seems I was right. I just knew no matter how bad it got, it could never be "The Next Mutation" bad. That level of awful requires a level on not giving a f**k that the budget on this movie simply wouldn't allow for.

Posted by Knightfall225

I knew this movie was going to be bad when Michael Bay and Megan fox were attached to it

Posted by longbowhunter

Even though this may be a swing and a miss, I take solace in the fact that this year has delivered some really enjoyable movies. Veronica Mars, Winter Soldier, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Guardians of the Galaxy all scratched my itch.

Posted by GraniteSoldier

@k4tzm4n: 3 stars is about what I expected. Your line of "it isn't a good movie but it is a fun movie" is pretty much what I was expecting of this, and I'm ok with that. It felt like that's what it was setting out to be from trailer 1.

Online
Posted by manwithoutshame

Since I grew up on the '87 series this would probably just piss me off if I watched it.

Posted by darkbeam

Please just tell me Gregg does Leo go off in the movie?Because if he's not cool I'm not going to be very happy.Also is he a good leader?

Posted by patrat18

Expected.

Posted by dccomicsrule2011

Nice reveiw, it was a very enjoyable read. 3 stars was really all I was expecting out of this flick to be honest.

Posted by noj

This is a great review and what I expected after seeing the trailers. I figured it wouldnt be anything other than a fun popcorn flick, and you know what thats okay! Not every movie has to be super deep or groundbreaking. This looks like a good time.

Posted by Mars8254

Im excited for this. Im just going to tune out when Megan Fox get on the screen and give my attention to the turtles.

Posted by Ninjablade09

Exactly what I expected so I'm not too worried. Great review. still wish we got a sequel to the 2007 movie though.

Edited by Spideysense44

Not gonna waste my money on this, ill wait till it comes on STRZ or something

Posted by SadiaVicious

Well, if it is fun, then I can call it a win. It's a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle movie that's not goofy-looking, and I like what I have seen in the trailers! By the way, great review!

Edited by CaptainMarvel4Ever

I posted this before, and I'm gonna post it again

Stay strong fanboys

Edited by IronAngelX

Don't know why this review reminds me of Iron Man 2. "It's good, but it's fun". Interested in seeing this one, at least I have a heads up to shut my mind off and just enjoy the loud moving colors on the giant screen in front of me lol

Posted by darknightspideyfanboy

well like i said kids are going to love this movie especially my little brothers and little sisters

Posted by CaptainMarvel4Ever

@darknightspideyfanboy: Keep the kids away, have them see Guardians instead. Do what you can to keep money out of those executives pockets. At the very least buy tickets to a different film when watching it (that totally works).

Posted by Ostyo

Wait, you thought the 2007 film was good? Don't think I can trust your judgment anymore.

Posted by Darling_Luna

Still going

Edited by darknightspideyfanboy
Posted by Ostyo

@darling_luna: Yeah, gotta see it. My TMNT pride won't let me skip it.

Posted by IronAngelX

I hope the film does okay enough to have a sequel, I really want to see how they treat Beebop and Rocksteady.

Posted by Lvenger

A fair enough review Gregg and I guess it turned out how you thought it would. A fun popcorn flick, nothing more, nothing less. That's not enough to make me waste money on a Michael Bay related film that doesn't do justice to yet another famous and well loved 80s franchise but it is a balanced critique nonetheless on your part.

Posted by ArtisticNeedham

@k4tzm4n What did you think of the changes to the origin in the rebooted comics? And which do you prefer, the origin in the comics where Splinter was always a rat or the origin in the cartoons where he used to be human?

Posted by NICKXH

Well, I'm off to go see Guardians of the Galaxy again. :P

Posted by Iron_Turtle

After months of hype and defending the project from the critics. An honest review from Katzman. kudos.

Hell will freeze over before I spend money on this turd. But I may be interested in finding a torrent at least.

Posted by cobracaptain

Nah, I will just pass this. A robot Shredder. What a ridicilous idea.

Posted by ripcurl

Looks terrible.

Michael Bay...

Edited by PunyParker

Cool!
Im okay with 3 stars.

Posted by leokearon

Bay didn't get any of my money for Age of Extinction and he's not getting any of my money for this movie either

Posted by TheAcidSkull

@lvenger said:

A fair enough review Gregg and I guess it turned out how you thought it would. A fun popcorn flick, nothing more, nothing less. That's not enough to make me waste money on a Michael Bay related film that doesn't do justice to yet another famous and well loved 80s franchise but it is a balanced critique nonetheless on your part.

Don't worry man, I plan on seeing it anyways, So i'll tell you if it's worth it :)

Online
Posted by Lvenger

@lvenger said:

A fair enough review Gregg and I guess it turned out how you thought it would. A fun popcorn flick, nothing more, nothing less. That's not enough to make me waste money on a Michael Bay related film that doesn't do justice to yet another famous and well loved 80s franchise but it is a balanced critique nonetheless on your part.

Don't worry man, I plan on seeing it anyways, So i'll tell you if it's worth it :)

Is this one actually coming out in Georgia? You occasionally miss these kinds of films like The Winter Soldier in the past :P

Posted by Lurkero

I think the 2007 TMNT movie was 3 stars so I'm getting the feeling that this movie would be closer to 2/5 stars.

It also helps that this TMNT movie is only 101 minutes compared to the 150 minutes that Michael Bay involved movies typically have.

Posted by Lone_Wolf_and_Cub

@nickxh said:

Well, I'm off to go see Guardians of the Galaxy again. :P

This

Posted by SHAZAM117

Had they nailed the Shredder and maintained the Foot as a ninja clan I would have been sold. I don't mind the new look of the turtles at all tho. I'll probably still see it at some point, but I have extremely LOW expectation :-/

Posted by TheAcidSkull

@lvenger said:

@theacidskull said:

@lvenger said:

A fair enough review Gregg and I guess it turned out how you thought it would. A fun popcorn flick, nothing more, nothing less. That's not enough to make me waste money on a Michael Bay related film that doesn't do justice to yet another famous and well loved 80s franchise but it is a balanced critique nonetheless on your part.

Don't worry man, I plan on seeing it anyways, So i'll tell you if it's worth it :)

Is this one actually coming out in Georgia? You occasionally miss these kinds of films like The Winter Soldier in the past :P

I MISSED Winter Soldier because my friends took forever to free themselves :P

Online
Posted by Bio Guyver

The new RoboCop was given 3 stars and I enjoyed it. It won't be perfect, but I have a feeling it'll be a fun ride.

Posted by Atary77

So here's my question, how much screen time do the turtles get?

Posted by Wolverine08

Expected 3 stars.

Posted by Guardiandevil83

Seeing it. I enjoyed Drive Angry and Paranah

  • 132 results
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3