When it comes to superhero movies, few are quite so absorbing as the original tales, as we meet these characters for the first time and witness how they came to have supernatural powers. However in the case of Jonathan Liebesman’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, sadly it’s not enough to save this production from falling into several bouts of tedium, as a generic offering that brings nothing new to the genre.
Our entry point into this fantastical, surrealistic universe is April O’Neil, played by Megan Fox, a driven ambitious news reporter, fervently seeking the next big story, despite landing the majority of the more trivial projects, alongside her cameraman Vernon (Will Arnett). However that all changes when she finds herself in a perilous situation, hunting down the Foot Clan, who are causing disruption and devastation across New York City. But she becomes more enamoured and intrigued by the vigilantes risking their own lives to keep the public safe – and when she discovers they are four teenage, mutant, ninja turtles, her interests are piqued. Not before too long, she finds herself an important ally to the turtles themselves: Leonardo (Pete Ploszek), Donatello (Jeremy Howard), Michelangelo (Noel Fisher) and Raphael (Alan Ritchson).
The problem is, as we’re looking into this world from the perspective of an outsider in April, we don’t get the chance to become emotionally invested in the turtles. It wouldn’t be so much of a problem if April was a better crafted, nuanced character, but sadly that could not be further from the reality, as she’s a single-layered, bland role. To be fair, the turtles are barely any better themselves, with a series of contrived banter not working effectively enough. In this instance, the very best roles fall to the antagonists, as the chief villain Shredder (Tohoru Masamune) is savage and seemingly infallible, making him an adversary to be feared, which enriches the narrative at hand.
Nonetheless, this generic, formulaic superhero flick is no match for what’s coming out of the Marvel universe at present, being yet another Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles endeavour that leaves the audience feeling underwhelmed. Following the disappointing 2007 effort, starring Patrick Stewart, you would think that perhaps the studio had got the hint by now. Though it seems that’s by no means the case, as needless to say, there is already another in the pipeline. Yippee.