There is a phenomenon occurring within some superhero movies today. The phenomenon of attempting to cram as many plot threads, characters, and exposition into a single superhero film. In some instances there are films like Batman V. Superman and the Amazing Spiderman 2, which were so overloaded with content that the film was bogged down.
A more positive instance of overloading a superhero movie is Captain America: Civil War. The movie had a long runtime with many characters (some new) and multiple plots, but the end product was really enjoyable.
The very best example of cramming as much into a film as possible is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows.
Out of the Shadows takes place sometime after the events of the first Turtles movie. Shredder (Brian Tee) is broken out of prison by his foot clan, and is approached by another villain Krang (Brad Garrett), an alien from another galaxy that wants to take over the world. It is now up to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to stop them and their plan for domination.
Many characters, both old and new, are introduced into Out of the Shadows. So many were introduced that it would be difficult for me to recall and explain each and every one. One particular pair of new characters introduced were Bebop (Gary Anthony Williams) and Rocksteady (Sheamus), the henchmen of Shredder. Bebop and Rocksteady are both goofy characters with cheesy and silly dialogue. These are the kind of characters that some will love because of the goofiness, and others will hate for the sheer stupidity of the madness. I personally seemed to like Bebop and Rocksteady more than most, however I seem to be part of the minority on this one.
The Turtles themselves struggle throughout the film with the idea of working together as a team. This is the exact same problem they dealt with and fixed in the first film, as if they have learned nothing. Leonardo is bossy, Raphael is too aggressive, and overall they can`t function as a team. But when they put their heads together, the Turtles can defeat the bad guy. I believe reusing the same plot thread for both films is not only stupid, but also redundant. Unraveling what little development with the characters was made in the first film.
I must say that Out of the Shadows took a big leap forward with its character of April O’Neill (Meghan Fox). April seemed more meaningful and useful in this film. She had important tasks and was integrated into the Turtles team much better than the last movie. I actually enjoyed watching Meghan Fox act as the character of April.
Another positive note is the look of the turtles. The producers of the film must have heard the harsh criticisms about them looking like gross aliens because the CGI is much more appealing to the eyes. I can actually look at the turtles now and see what I am meant to see, giant mutated turtles. Alas, a few positive changes from the last Turtles movie aren`t even enough to make this a good flick.
The biggest and most devastating problem with Out of the Shadows is its plot. Too many characters and ideas are shoveled into the film, which will leave many overwhelmed. I think there was at least five or six main and minor villains to keep track of, as well as about a dozen protagonists. This was way too much to ask the audience to keep track of, given the overused and dull plot.
Even the final fight scene with the Turtles, Krang, the Shredder, and the Technodrome is extremely underwhelming. A huge two hour build up for very little payoff. The fight scene is very quickly over and the villains are defeated without much struggle. What a disappointment.
I wished for the Turtles films to succeed. While I like Out of the Shadows much more than the last Turtles film, it still had many shortcomings. Out of the Shadows is a film mostly children and young teens will love. Die-hard fans of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles might want to tread lightly when entering these waters.