I managed to watch the sequel to the 2015 live-action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film during its opening weekend and I decided to make a review of my thoughts on the film. Please keep in mind this review features an in-depth synopsis containing several spoilers, so one should read at his/her own discreet. Anyways, lets move on to the summary and review.
The movie starts out with the Turtles watching a basketball game, as April O’Neil heads to a restaurant since she recently received information that Baxter Stockman is working for the Shredder. April disguises herself a nerdy, science geek and fan of Stockman to get close to him. During her time with Stockman, April attempts to hack into his personal tablet by using a special watch-device created by Donatello to gather information on Stockman’s work for the Shredder. However, April is immediately interrupted by one his associate, who leaves with the tablet before April can fully download a copy of its contents. April leaves with the information she was able to gather and discovers her lead was correct, prompting her to call the Turtles. She explains to them that Stockman’s work, and how he’s assisting the Foot to break out the Shredder who is currently being moved to a detention facility alongside fellow inmates, Bebop and Rocksteady. The inmate transfer is lead by Casey Jones and is soon intervened by the Foot, before being joined by the Turtles in their Tactical Truck. The battle to secure the Shredder gets intense, and Stockman attempts to assist in the rescue by using teleportation portal device. Shredder escapes through it, but finds himself in the hands of Krang, who seek to enlist him for support in obtaining three pieces of a device called the Arc Capacitor, a dimensional door to connect Earth with Krang’s dimension, to which Shredder already possesses the first piece. Shredder agrees to a deal and receives a mutagenic compound before he is sent back to the TCRI building.
Meanwhile, Casey is blamed for the Shredder’s mistake, and asks to for a chance to help recapture him, but is turned down. With being refused, Casey decides to take action into his own hands. Bebop and Rocksteady, have also managed to elude being recaptured and make their way to the favorite bar. They are soon joined by Shredder and the Foot, who forcefully ask the two to join their company. Sometime later, Casey arrives at the bar searching for a lead on Bebop and Rocksteady but is unable to gather information from the bartender, who refuses. After roughing up the bartender, Casey receives a GPS that can be used to locate them, which points him towards the TCRI building. While Casey heads to the building, April has already managed to infiltrate it and witnesses the Foot using the mutagen that created the Turtles on Bebop and Rocksteady, mutating them into their iconic forms. April attempts to steal some of the mutagens, before being discovered and flee. The Foot corner April in an alleyway where Casey appears, fighting them off until police appear and confiscate the mutagen.
From a small sample April manage to save, Donatello deduces that the mutagen could turn the Turtles into humans, but Leonardo refuses on the idea and decides it be kept a secret. Michelangelo overhears the conversation and informs Raphel which leads to a rift between the brothers. Raph and Mikey then convince April, Casey, and Vern to assist them in breaking into the NYPD HQ to recover the mutagen. Leo and Donny, soon head off to the National Museum due to an alarm they received only to discover they were too as the Foot obtain the second piece of the device. While investigating the Museum, Donny begins to attempt to pinpoint the item stolen as it leaves off residual energy allowing him to discover a piece of the Shredder’s plot, that it can create portals. Now, as for the others, they eventually manage to get into the station holding the mutagen and are engaged by members of the Foot clan who seek to reclaim the vile. In the battle for the mutagen, the Turtles recover it, but alerted the police of their existence in their escape, as April and Casey are arrested in chaos due the of TGRI’s security cameras capturing her take the vial.
The Turtles manage to track Bebop and Rocksteady to Brazil where the final piece is hidden, and during the duo’s return trip with the piece, they plan to intercept them. They skydive into the ship with the battle resulting to plane crashing, and the Turtles failing to capture the final piece. Shredder and Stockman complete the Arc Capacitor, connecting the worlds and Krang with his war machine, the Technodrome emerge. Shredder has Stockman taken away to his home HQ in Tokyo, and soon betrayed by Krang, being frozen and becoming one of the creature’s trophies. The Turtles in the meantime are given an ultimatum; to use the mutagen to become humans to fight in the open, or be who they are as there is no way to discreetly combat the Krang. Raphel smashes the vial realizing, that they must accept themselves while Vern recovers security footage to prove April and Casey’s innocence, as well as reveal Shredder and the Foot’s crimes. The Turtles are soon called into a meeting Police Chief Rebecca Vincent to convince her that they are not the enemy and they were the vigilantes protecting the city. Thus leading to their police convoy to Technodrome to battle Krang, as April and Vern defeat Shredder’s lieutenant Karai for control of the Arc Capacitor, and Casey recaptures Bebop along with Rocksteady. The Turtles locate a beacon that is assembling the Technodrome, and hurl back through the portal to his dimension, taking Krang with it as the other shut the portal down. As Krang disappears through the portal he swears revenge, and that he will return!
Following the events, Bebop and Rocksteady are back in custody with Karai and the Foot being apprehended as well, while Stockman remains at large. April and Vern go on to return to Channel 6 News, where their first story back is the events that had taken place in New York. Later that night, the Turtles are honored by the NYPD and given the opportunity to become citizens and accepted by the people of New York. However, they turn down the offer understanding that their existence should be secret, but that they will always be there to help when needed.
The sequel had many different qualities that I personally believe is better than the first film. One thing is that while the action scenes were limited they were personally all around better than what was seen in the first film. Another great thing is that unlike the first film, the sequel had a much better story and it was definitely better paced than its predecessor. To be more specific, Shredder and Krang were better-developed adversaries compared to Eric Sacks from the first film.
The action in the film was also much better compared to what was seen in the first film. Starting with the chase scene it was a pretty well-made fight between the Foot and the turtles. The battle scenes with Bebop and Rocksteady were also pretty cool especially since they were a much stronger force then what was seen in original cartoon series. Casey also had some battles in the films if his scenes were shorter then what was presented to the turtles. The final battle between the turtles and Kranng was way more enjoyable than the first movie’s climax since it actually featured Krang as quite a formidable foe.
The characters were much better in the sequel as well. This is especially the case since there were less overall characters, in general, making it much easier for them to develop. That being said, I definitely feel that Casey is one of the strongest points of the film. He had a really interesting origin story that is completely different than most of his origin stories which were well appreciated. Bebop and Rocksteady were pretty cool in the film; however, there were some problems that I will address below.
While the film was much better than the first film there were quite of bit of issues I seen with the sequel. The characters themselves might have been the strong point of the film; there were some major issues that caused the film to a bit problematic. Shredder was pretty awful and it seemed that Dimension X was never mentioned in the film making Krang’s backstory look a bit unfinished. Another problem was that while Krang was pretty strong, his defeat looked a bit too convenient as a way to foreshadow another sequel. Although they had some great fight scenes, I thought was disappointing that both Bebop and Rocksteady barely had any actual big fights in general even though they were there during pretty much the entire film. Personally, I think the worst characters in the film though where the police force. I understand that the turtles are the main focus of the film, but they seemed really lackluster and I think that the film would have worked much better without them.
While the film clearly showed the turtles as stronger characters compared to the first film, their character development was also one of the weakest parts of the film. It seemed as though the first film made it look like they were through a lot together and over time they grew into the tough ninja team you see in the first film. The second film did much better in showing how they began to learn a lot of values into becoming a team, however seeing as they were shown as a well-balanced team in the first film it makes them overall weaker in this film. This is a huge problem since it further cements that many of the first film events were ignored in the story composition in the second film.
The film unfortunately also suffered from several plot holes. One problem I saw was the deal between the turtles and Vernon. At the end of the first film, the turtles were considered heroes even though their identities weren’t revealed so the deal itself overall seems pointless. Another issue I see is that New York doesn’t seem to be affected that much from the events of the first film making it seem like they ignored the film altogether. On top of that, the citizens of New York didn’t seem to react to this film either so it looks like the villains aren’t really causing as much of an impact in the TMNT live-action universe. Personally, I think the worst part of the film was that even in the end the turtles still believed that they would not be accepted into society even though they got some well-deserved respect so it was kind of mind-boggling.
In the end, the movie itself looked like a slight re-imagining of Secret of the Ooze, which isn’t really a bad thing but it would have been a bit better if it was its’ own thing. That being said, I thought it was a good call back to the fans of the original 80s cartoon especially since it follows a very similar premise in the original show. Overall while I enjoyed the film I see that it suffered from several problems. If you are looking for a fantastic new take on the turtles than you might be a bit disappointed. If you are a fan of the 80s cartoon or the cartoons in general though than I believe you will have much better enjoyment than those who have no connection with them.
Final Verdict: 3.5 / 5