Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows not only flirts with the ridiculous, it seems quite happy to commit to a relationship.  Imagine fictional absurdities dropped into a narrative blender and it'll give you a pretty good idea of what to expect.  If this sounds strangely familiar, it most certainly should.  Rather than attempt to please everyone TMNT 2 focuses on distilling the formula of the 1987 animated series - it then gives it a beautifully rendered shot of photo-realistic steroids and turns up the volume.  Words like "teleportation event" and "Arc Capacitor" are bandied around and at some point we're told that we all have latent animal DNA, which is awoken by the purple ooze.  But before you get all "judgey", it's important to remember you bought a ticket for the movie based on the same cartoon that used words like "Technodrome" and "Dimension X".

Out of the Shadows lives and dies by the katana of it's commitment to be silly.  It's very careful not to make excuses for itself and although it hearkens back to older incarnations of Turtles lore (Ringtones and truck horns have a familair ditty), it doesn't get too nostalgic.

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles themselves are still a fully-rendered, realistic wonder.  They're also a lot more fleshed out in character than they have any right to be when you have 4 strong voices moving the plot along and 3 more human side-characters caught up in the mix.  Add to this 2 villains pulling the strings and then Bee-Bop and Rocksteady and this particular pizza could have waaaaaaay too many toppings.  The more cynical of us could have a field day picking apart Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, and although none are completely fleshed out, it still manages to juggle all the characters better than they could in Spider-Man 3.

With all this and a 3-course MacGuffin Turtles still rattles along it's 1 hr 51 min running time and, kudos where it's due, never gets boring.  The set-pieces are fun, exciting and action-packed.  While overbearingly contrived, the exposition is quickly sign-posted for the kids and anyone paying too much attention to the eye-candy.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows does have it's faults and it's easy to let your childhood fondness for the characters make excuses for the narrative ball-dropping.  Yes, it's a kids film and it means explanations and foreshadowing can be tedious - but it's more of a blast than a Technodrome turret to the face.

Just enjoy it.

3* - Cowa-fun-ga

Further reading

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

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