'Teenage Mutant...': Most engaging superhero film in recent times

Film: "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows"

Directed: Dave Green

Starring: Megan Fox, Will Arnett, Stephen Amell

Rating: **** Just when I had given up hope of ever seeing a fun superhero film - what with all of them choosing to go the top-heavy existential way - comes this superhero hell-raiser blues-chaser, the most enjoyable, light-footed, fast-paced and grandly designed superhero yarn, and yet true to the comicbook spirit. "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" is as intellectually equipped to handle the Shakespearean dilemma - to be or not to be ponderous - as the film’s kneejerk attitude to heart-in-the-mouth heroism allows it to be. This is a film with the smartest most deviously constructed chase and action sequences on this side of Rush Hour. Not that anyone is trying to impress with their smartness. It’s all done in the spirit of an ongoing gag. Filled with a sense of wacked-out wonderment, this is that easygoing unfettered superhero film that we were waiting for, but didn’t know where to look without running into self-important philosophizing pseudo-heroes who came at us with so much gravity that we were left shuddering in penitence. So here’s the deal, then. The four Ninja turtles - Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo, Donatello are back with a blather. They are brighter and more focused than the earlier phase of the franchise. In fact this film-clocking into just two hours of exacerbated joy and enjoyment - opens with a steep chase on the roads of New York where a dreaded terrorist Shredder is being taken to prison. There is an ambush that whisks Shredder away. But before that happens the Ninjas revved up with glorious gadgets fitted into a van that resembles a video-game parlour, zooms into the picture to create some of the most ravishing bedlam seen in recent times. Director Dave Green keeps the characters vibrant and alert and yet somewhat intellectually challenged. You know his human hero, a not-so-smart disgraced cop Casey Jones (Stephen Amell) is capable of pulling off a clanger any time. His female counterpart April (played by Megan Fox) is no better. I mean, tell me, what is so smart about hack-copying an outlawed academician’s data in a crowded restaurant using a device which can at best be called a James Bond carryover?  Even the four Ninjas trapeze swiftly from smart to clueless when three of them decide they want to look ‘human’. (Aside: if the turtles look like us, what is the point of the franchise? Mercifully, the idea is dropped) It is the intellectual uncertainty hovering spookily close to the edge of the plot that makes this the most fun-filled superhero film in recent times, far more regaling in its irreverent homage to machismo than the dreadfully self important "Captain America: Civil War", "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" and most recently "X Men Apocalypse". Unhinged and goofy "Teenage Mutant..." is shot like a binge on tequila consumed on a night when the stakes are high and the craving for adventure and fun even higher. The film is terrifically packaged. The action scenes of apocalypse (yeah yeah the world is threatened by extinction here also) are filmed with a giggling gusto. The film is loads of fun because it doesn’t take its heroism to the level of megalomaniacal machismo. Some of the heroism especially pertaining to New York’s mirthfully informal mayor (Will Arnett) is so splendidly self-mocking you end of celebrating the return of the fun element in the superhero genre. This weekend don’t even think about any other film. Take your kids and rush to see "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows". This super-fun superhero film is funny, charming and goofy. This is where the fun begins.