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'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem' Review: The Turtles Are Back

Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem is the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie directed by Jeff Rowe and written by Seth Rogen. This movie shows Leonardo, Donatello, Michaelangelo, and Raphael in a coming-of-age story that focuses on the teenage side of them.

Instead of Shredder, the Turtles face mutants led by Superfly. This movie is the second animated Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie to come out in theaters after the 2007 movie TMNT. Theatrical Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies can be a hit or a miss. Some movies, like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles from 1991, are loved by the fans. Others, like the Michael Bay-produced Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles from 2014, have gotten a mixed to negative reception. How does this new movie hold?

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem is one of the best Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to come out. The animation is some of the best animation in years, almost rivaling Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. The movie will make decisions that break some traditions in the series, but manages to tell a unique, funny story. For example, Splinter is not Hamato Yoshi or the pet rat of Yoshi. The movie shows the fatherly side of Splinter and gives him a clear motivation as to why his adoptive sons learn how to fight.

The Ninja Turtles, voiced by teenagers, act like teenagers and not like young adults. They still feel like the characters we know and love. Leonardo is still the leader. Donatello is still the smart brother. Michaelangelo is still the funny brother. Raphael is still the aggressive brother. The movie has a lot of pop culture references that never get old or too annoying. The voice actors do a great job voicing the Turtles.

Jackie Chan voices Splinter, as mentioned before, is portrayed as the adoptive father of the Turtles. Chan does a great job of voicing Splinter, and this version of Splinter was funny. The only change I did not like was the romance he had with the mutant character Scumbug. I didn’t mind Scumbug being a female in this movie, but the romance with Splinter felt off and forced. April O’Neal appears in this movie, voiced by Ayo Edebiri. Like the recent cartoons, she is a teenager who wants to get into journalism, similar to her other incarnations. While this isn’t my favorite version of April, I still enjoyed this version and could relate to her and her fears to talk on camera.

A new villain raised by Baxter Stockman called Superfly is the main antagonist, voiced by Ice Cube. He has clear motivations as to why he hates humans and wants to turn animals into mutants. Other mutant characters appear in his mutant family, from Bebop and Rocksteady to Leatherhead and Mondo Gecko. Bigger-name stars like Seth Rogen, John Cena, Rose Bryne, and Paul Rudd voice these characters well. Some characters, like Bebop and Rocksteady, I was more mixed on how they were portrayed, and I thought there was a missed opportunity with them.

The action was a lot of fun to watch, and Rogen wrote a fun, coming-of-age story. I understand why fans are not thrilled with certain choices, but I honestly did not mind them and appreciate that they told a different story than what we usually get. The potential for future movies is strong. The song choices and score were great. The movie was too short, and I felt it could have been at least ten minutes longer.

Overall, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem was a lot of fun and tells a different Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles story. I love how the Turtles were portrayed. The humor and action were spot on. The animation is some of the best I’ve seen in the last few years. Superfly was a great villain, especially for his first appearance. Most of the choices that went in a different direction worked, while a few didn’t work. The potential for an even better sequel is there, and the movie does have a mid-credit scene.

The final grade for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem is an A-. It’s a funny, great time that all audience members can enjoy. Die-hard fans might not like all the decisions. Regardless, it’s the best Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie we have gotten in a long time, and I highly recommend you check it out. Even if you’re not a big fan, if you want to take your kid, little sibling, or cousin to the movies, this is the perfect movie to take them to.

What are your thoughts on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem? Let us know in the comments below.

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