The second Michael Bay-produced Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles flick improves on its predecessor in many ways, and most of them involve fan service. Leonardo (Pete Ploszek, MTV’s “Teen Wolf”), Donatello (Jeremy Howard), Raphael (Alan Ritchson, or “Smallville”’s Aquaman) and Michelangelo (Noel Fisher) go up against not only Shredder (Brian Tee), but fan favorites Bebop and Rocksteady (Gary Anthony Williams and WWE wrestler Sheamus), a pre-fly Baxter Stockman (Tyler Perry) and the militaristic brain from another dimension, Krang (v. Brad Garrett).
Earth to Echo director Dave Green and writing duo Josh Appelbaum and André Nemec (Mission: Impossible—Ghost Protocol) bring out the cartoon in Eastman and Laird’s comic book creations. The biggest knock on this turtle adventure is its questionable appropriateness for the quartet’s biggest fans: children. The action is bloodless and probably worthy of its PG-13, though the rating might be more for Megan Fox’s sexiness or the burly, realistic-looking turtles.
One area where Out of the Shadows cannot be faulted is in the special effects that created those turtles, Bebop and Rocksteady. Besides Fox’s necessary April O’Neil, the human element is fairly inconsequential; Will Arnett’s canonical Vernon “The Falcon” Fenwick could be jettisoned before another movie; Casey Jones loses his hockey mask way too early to show off the good looks of CW’s Green Arrow, Stephen Amell; and Laura Linney seems to be wondering why she’s there. The Turtles also dealt with way too similar a personal conflict already; Master Splinter (v. Tony Shalhoub) needs to step up his life lessons. Like an episode of the beloved cartoon, good beats bad, and nostalgic Turtle fans should enjoy themselves.