The 2014 “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” reboot received terrible reviews, so why would they make a sequel? That’s exactly what critics are wondering as well.
Critics are describing “Out of the Shadows” as “headache-inducing,” “amoral at best,” and “a strangely joyless exercise,” giving the film an accumulated score of 37 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.
“The current iteration of ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ is a toxic alchemy combining nostalgia, CGI, and a bit of cultural appropriation thrown in for good measure,” said TheWrap’s film critic Michael Nordine. “[It] ends up a soupy mess — director David Green’s sequel has turtles, but not much power.”
Starring Megan Fox, Will Arnett, Tyler Perry, Laura Linney, Stephen Amell, Noel Fisher, Jeremy Howard, Pete Ploszek and Alan Ritchson, “Out of the Shadows” is looking to make around $30 million its opening weekend.
There is light at the end of the tunnel, though — most critics seem to agree that the sequel is better than its predecessor.
See 9 of the worst reviews below.
Gregory Wakeman, Cinema Blend:
“From the outset, ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows’ is at odds to highlight the differences to Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo, and, Donatello, just in case those of you who successfully skipped the original film were somehow convinced that the sequel would be a vast improvement. It’s not. Instead it succumbs to the same tonal issues that scuppered its predecessor, finding itself stuck in the middle ground between being too dark for kids, and too dumb for adults.”
Lindsey Bahr, Associated Press:
“You need look no further than the fluttery vocal stylings of Brad Garrett‘s Krang to really know that this is just a more expensive, high-definition version of the thing you used to watch in your pajamas while eating a bowl of cereal. If that sounds like a good thing, ‘Out of the Shadows’ might be for you. But for most of us, the joys that the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were able to provide had a definite expiration date, and no amount of CGI-spectacle or professional athlete or supermodel cameos are going to change that.”
Barbara VanDenburgh, Arizona Republic:
“This iteration of the ninja turtles remains a strangely joyless exercise. The Michael Bay production feels, as it did the first go round, like a barely disguised business obligation between movie studio, sponsors and toy manufacturers.And with audiences, too, who demand no more than something colorful to eat popcorn to.”
Chuck Bowen, Slant Magazine:“What the film really recaptures is the lunatic excess of American blockbusters before they were tamed by Disney to fit a mold of earnest interchangeability. Like ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ before it, the film is loud, sleazy, and amoral at best, to the point that it’s fair to wonder, as other critics have, who this series is for.”
Simon Abrams, Roger Ebert:
“It should be noted that ‘Out of the Shadows’ is not particularly good at its bottom line: sowing the seeds of merchandise-enforced nostalgia that will inevitably lead viewers to adulthood with the wrong impression of what a kid-friendly action-adventure blockbuster should be. This is the kind of movie that leaves you with the impression that more thought was put into catchphrases and fan service than into a compelling plot, thoughtful characterizations or imaginative action choreography.”
Sara Stewart, New York Post:
“Too bad about the Ninja Turtles. In theory, these irreverent pizza-scarfers, who originated in a 1980s comic book, could have been the kiddie answer to ‘Deadpool.’ They’re snarky teenagers, after all; they speak in surfer lingo and live in a tricked-out New York sewer with a Zen master rat. But this unambitious Michael Bay-produced version doesn’t seem interested in cleverness, cravenly settling for the usual generic CGI shtick.”
Tirdad Derakhshani, Philadelphia Inquirer:
“A headache-inducing $135 million sequel to the 2014 blockbuster, ‘TMNT: OOTS’ becomes intolerable after about 32 seconds. The opening, a swirling, motion-sickness-inducing nightmare, has the green foursome – Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo, and Donatello – plunge off the top of the Empire State Building and into our faces. Then they gyrate, rotate, fly, leap, lunge, and fall – into our faces – to grab a pizza before settling inside the Madison Square Garden Jumbotron to watch a New York Knicks game. Great – just another hour, 51 minutes and 28 seconds left to go.”
Peter Hartlaub, San Francisco Chronicle:
“The new ‘Turtles’ is a step backward from the passable first installment, taking the overblown mess of that film’s final 30 minutes and stretching it out into the entire 112-minute sequel. There are isolated moments of humor, and even charm. The visual effects are at times outstanding. But these positives are overwhelmed by the uninspired whole.”
Jesse Hassenger, A.V. Club:
“Make no mistake: ‘Out Of The Shadows’ is every bit as mercenary, nonsensical, and loud as a typical Michael Bay production. (The pop soundtrack cues may be even louder, and make even less sense.) Yet while it’s not necessarily a good thing to aim this kind of weaponized marketing at kids, it’s also silly and colorful enough to nearly work as a live-action cartoon. It might rot brains, but perhaps not while regarding them with utter contempt.”