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Review – Movie – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows

So, the first Michael Bay Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles live action movie kind of got a lot of flack.  To be fair, though, it’s not actually directed by Michael Bay, it’s just produced, so it’s not as awful of a live action remake as The Transformers movies are, it was however quite a departure from what people think of when they think Ninja Turtles.

The second film in this series is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, and it seems to be the answer to what a lot of people wanted and expected from the first movie.  Where TMNT is an updated modern take on the basic Turtles vs The Foot idea, Out of the Shadows is a very blatant tribute and Nostalgia fest for the original 80s TMNT cartoon show.   It actually kind of feels a little sad with just how blatant of a tribute it is.

Rocksteady and Bebop? Check!

The Turtle Van?  Check!

Krang? Check!

Baxter Stockman?  Check!

The Technodrom?  Check!

Also, unlike a lot of remakes and updates, things stay fairly true to the original, or at least, much more aligned with the spirit of the original.  Rocksteady and Bebop for example, are pretty unmistakable.  Krang is a little weird but still very much is obviously Krang with his goofy robot body.  Baxter Stockman follows the original comic and modern show versions of being African American instead of a goofy white guy with orange hair, but he’s still a goofy scientist.

This movie very much feels like a response to the “This isn’t the Turtles I remember” complaints of the first TMNT film.

Honestly, I kind of feels like it makes the film better.  I didn’t hate the original TMNT, but the nostalgia level of Out of the Shadows definitely does it’s job.

The biggest fault of this film is the some what flimsy plot.  It’s not awful, but there’s quite a few “what” moments, one of them is a pretty crucial hinge to everything.  Early on in the film, The Shredder is rescued by The Foot, amidst the rescue, he is suddenly kidnapped by Krang, who wants to recruit The Shredder to gather several McGuffin devices in order to open a portal from Dimension X so Krang can take over The Earth.  Very Classic 80s Cartoon to be sure.  It’s just very, sudden, however with zero build up.  It’s just suddenly “Hey, giant brain man, let’s work together”.  It kind of feels like it could have been massaged a little bit on the flow.

There’s also a subplot involving Casey Jones tracking down Rocksteady and Bebop which feels pretty superfluous to the everything.  It seems to exist entirely so create an excuse to throw Casey Jones into the movie.  He basically fills the role of Vernon from the first TMNT, someone for April O’Neal to pal around with when she isn’t hanging out with the turtles.

There’s also an ooze subplot that goes nowhere after Rocksteady and Bebop become a thing.  That is, it’s there to mutate Rocksteady and Bebop, which is fine, but then it lingers around a bit until the end where a choice is made, one that never really felt like it had any appropriate build up to actually give it any meaningful impact.

The real bottom line is that the plot, or plots aren’t awful ideas, it’s more that there’s just too much crammed into one film, and as a result, nothing gets fleshed out to any meaningful level.  Maybe I’m looking for too much from a movie about giant martial artist turtles, but I can’t help but think that maybe, splitting things out a across a couple of films would have helped solidify everything a bit better, giving us something much better than what we got.  Maybe run with Shredder being rescued and meeting with a shadowy unknown, creating Bebop and Rocksteady and introducing Casey Jones as more of an antagonist and foil, then keeping Krang and the idea of being forced to live “In the Shadows” as a plot for a third connected film.

Weekly Wednesday Haul – Faces of Evil Edition

I mentioned int he last installment picking up Demolition Man/Scourge on clearance at the local Wal-Mart.  I was waiting on the others to finish up Onslaught, since they didn’t seem to be selling at all, even at $15.  I stopped in for other errands and found they had been knocked down to $10 now, though they didn’t ring up at that price.  I passed on Wolf Cap though, I don’t need another damn Captain America and I can live without onslaught having his cape.

I did opt for …. THE FACES OF EVIL!

On a side note, I really have no idea why these get packed this way, with silly groupings instead of their names.  It’s not like there are multiple case assortments where one case has character A and the other character B from the grouping.  They don’t share BAF parts either, you still need both of them.  In case you’re wondering what I’m rambling about, Cottonmouth and Whirlwind come packed in shared packaging, their boxes are the same and instead of names they are listed as “The Faces of Evil”.

Moving on…

Cottonmouth

Marvel's CottonmouthOk, so, researching a bit on these guys, as I like to do, it seems there are two different people named Cottonmouth in the Marvel universe.  One is a Luke Cage villain, which could be fun, since Luke Cage is getting a Netflix series and that little corner of the Marvel-verse in general is getting a lot of light lately.  The other is this joker, Burchell Clemens.

This guy is… pretty much as nobody as it gets.  He’s a member of the Serpent Society, a bunch of villains named after snakes, and he got shot by Deadpool, who also pretty much has shot everyone.  He has a bionic jaw that opens pretty huge to allow him to chew on heads and steal beams.

It’s a neat-ish design, the guy in the snake mask looks pretty crazy to be sure, he’s just, not really anyone important.  He makes for some alright generic villain fodder I suppose.

Whirlwind

WhirlwindWhirlwind is slightly more interesting than Cottonmouth (though not much).  His design makes me think “Iron Man Villain” but he’s not, he’s actually mostly a Pym Ant-Man and Wasp villain but he’s gotten around the Marvel Universe a lot.  His power also isn’t quite what i expected just looking at him, he basically spins and moves really fast, and becomes a tornado (hence Whirlwind).  He’s palled around with several other villains, including some other recent lower tier villains like Tiger Shark and Blizzard.  He’s also got a thing for Wasp.  The point is, while he’s not Red Skull or Doctor Octopus, he’s also several levels above Cottonmouth on the who’s who list of villains.

The Human TopAlso while checking into who this guy is, I found a ton of pictures with “Tornado legs” which really makes me wish he had come with some sort of sap out parts accessory.  I found something similar in my parts box but the best I could do is fake it since I’m not going to break the waist apart on this guy just for some pictures.

The only other thing that seems worth noting here is that his helmet is not removable but his little buzz saws are.

Onslaught

Still want more faces of evil?  How about Onslaught, who gets two faces all of his own.

I don’t personally understand what’s going on with Red Onslaught or why Red Skull is Onslaught, as originally designed.  It’s also hard to find any good information on Red Onslaught since the search results all show up Red Skull, who has a long and full history that doesn’t really include “Being Onslaught”.  From what I gather this guy is actually a clone of Red Skull, maybe fused with some Xavier bits who went evil then got captured and something about Inverted Avengers.

Red Onslaught

Regular old Onslight however, I get that.  Xavier and Magneto merged into a super mutant for Xmen to fight, I can get behind that.  Thankfully, the X-men wave gave us an alternate head for Red Onslaught to use the body as regular Onslaught.

Marvel Onslaught

He’s nice and big and beefy and works well for a BAF.

Rocksteady

TMNT RocksteadStill need more?  Have a bonus face of evil, in the form of Rocksteady here from TMNT.  I’m not exactly sure what this line is called, TMNT Classics?  These are larger 6″ Turtles figures with fancier articulation than their normal counterparts.  I’ve been keeping an eye on the listings for Rocksteady and Bebop over on Amazon hoping to catch a deal, and eventually Rocksteady did drop down below the ridiculous $50-$60 price these seem to go for these days.  Frankly, probably not worth that.  He lacks any ankle joints, his accessories have no paint (including his helmet which needs it), the packaging is a lame bubble which isn’t reusable.  All of this is kind of excusable for the original $20-$25 price, not so much as an after market premium.

He’s actually a bit small if you pair him with the Turtles of this same Classics line.  I don’t actually have any of those turtles, but since all of the figures in this line up are the same height, he’d be small next to them.  Which is fine, since I intend for him to go with my non Classics line up of Turtles.  The Turtles are all supposed to be around 4′ tall anyway, a 6″ Rocksteady works great with the 4″ turtles as well as any crossover action with Marvel figures.

He does seem kind of lonely without Bebop, but like I said, not worth $60 at all.