Our heroine in this instance is Megan Fox’s April O’Neil, an ambitious news reporter, assigned to mostly thankless and trivial jobs, alongside her trustworthy cameraman Vernon (Will Arnett). Desperate to make a name for herself in the industry, she ignores her producer’s advice and chases a story of her own, putting herself in danger as she hunts the evil Shredder (Tohoru Masamune) and his Foot Clan – but more importantly, she wants to discover who the rogue vigilantes are attempting to put a stop to the wave of criminal activity. Which is when she meets Raphael (Alan Ritchson), Michelangelo (Noel Fisher), Donatello (Jeremy Howard) and Leonardo (performed by Pete Ploszek, but voiced by Johnny Knoxville), in a bid to team up against the common enemy and save New York City.
With origin stories, one of their greatest aspects is the initial setting of the scene, where we discover how our superheroes came to be so super – especially intriguing in this instance given we’re dealing with mutant ninja turtles. Yet we dive into the story far too abruptly, which ultimately transpires in a film made up mostly of hackneyed action sequences we’ve seen a thousand times before. Plus the focus lies more predominantly on April, which shouldn’t be a bad thing – but given how poorly constructed she is as a character, it makes for a quite bland entry point into this supernatural world.
Meanwhile the banter amongst the turtles feeling entirely contrived and rarely provokes any laughter from the audience. Any moment with potential intensity or suspense is broken up needlessly by a cheesy one-liner. Nonetheless, the villain is thankfully a truly formidable force, and a seemingly infallible opponent for our protagonists to come up against. This benefits the film greatly, as we are struck by this genuine threat, adding to the narrative in just how laborious a task it will be to come out on top.
Nonetheless, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is all too familiar an endeavour, and while certainly entertaining for the most part, it struggles to shake off just how generic this feels, following that same, rigid formula we so often see in superhero productions. Good fun this may be, but original? Absolutely cowabungingly not.