Serious Teens (Teen Titans Go To the Movies, 2018)

Teen_Titans_GTTM_PosterWhen the Titans fight a giant balloon, the day is saved by Superman, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern, who are all on their way to the premier of Batman’s new movie. The Titans are informed that they are a bit of a joke, and not really deserving of an invite. After sneaking into the premier, The director of the film announces that the entire DC Universe is getting movies. Everyone. Except the Teen Titans…and especially not Robin.

Robin obsesses with how to get a worthy arch villain to make him memorable. They think they have a lead when they run afoul of the villainous Slade. Slade is a master manipulator and has a name that is fun to say very dramatically.

Having brought the Cartoon Network cartoon to the big screen, they try and make it a big enough deal for the jump. And you definitely see a difference in the budget with the animation.  It all looks good, and they have fun with applying various artistic styles.

The story is pretty predictable and the film hits all the expected beats. This is all about the juvenile jokes, sight gags and a few musical numbers. Oh, and an endless series of easter eggs. Frankly, is a running joke regarding the Challengers of the Unknown mean anything to the film’s target audience?

That said, it is passable entertainment, but this is not a film like the Lego Movie, which can be rewarding entertainment for parents in the audience…but it is likely kids who like the show will have a good time.

Shell Shocked (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, 2014)

tmnt-posterAnytime I see Michael Bay’s name attached to something, I instantly start lowering any expectations I might have.  I have reached a point where disappointment is near impossible.

In a case like the updated Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Bay put it in the hands of another director, Jonathan Liebesman (Darkness Falls, Texas Chainsaw Massacre: the Beginning, Wrath of the Titans).  This did not bode entirely well, as I have made multiple attempts to watch Wrath of the Titans and have yet to manage to avoid falling asleep.

The latest version of the turtle does not evoke the silly fun of the cartoons or the gritty weirdness of the original comic books.  It tries to update itself as a serious action film, with flat jokes and attempts at cashing in on nostalgia.
Frankly, in a film called Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, we do not need a scene where the Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtles in question actually describe themselves as such.  We get it.

And seriously, having Will Arnett’s character be both April’s (Megan Fox) sole supporter at her job as reporter and be the guy suggesting they hook up? Creepy.

As Bay-related films go, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is not the worst.  It is not the best.  The characters are dull, and the film entirely seeks to get by on nostalgia combined with Bay effects extravaganza.  And this is not enough to make the film actually fun and entertaining.  I do not ask that my blockbusters be life altering or challenge how I view the world.  But I do ask that they be engaging…and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is not that.

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