Film Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows

by Laura Bennett

Rated PG. Starring Megan Fox, Stephen Amell, Will Arnett. Directed by Dave Green.

If you do a good deed in secret, does it still count?

In the second round of our reunion with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, our fav band of pizza-loving bros is struggling with the anonymity of their squad. Despite putting Shredder in jail, and saving lives across the city, the credit isn’t theirs. Living in the sewer is losing its charm, and some of our half-shell heroes want out. Now up against new nemesis Krang, Out of the Shadows sees the gang decide whether being a Ninja Turtle is enough, and whether or not unity really satisfies.

Shadows steps up from its 2014 predecessor – introducing new characters in Bebop, Rocksteady, and Casey Jones (Amell, from DC’s Arrow) – and preserves our nostalgia amidst an array of CGI experimentation. There’s all the action and fun you could want, but also a worthwhile reflection on our intriguing need to have our actions ‘count’.

In his fight to break out of the sewer, Michelangelo throws back at us the face of someone feeling that without recognition achievements are nullified, and their success can’t be measured. In comparing his life to those ‘above ground’ he feels slighted and held back by his mutation.

His challenge begs the question, what do you want your actions to count toward? Who’s adding them up? Where are you getting your measure of success from? Jesus says, in Matthew 6:3-4:

‘But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.’

God sees what is done in secret, and rewards it. Whether or not your contribution or sacrifice get the acknowledgement they may well deserve, they are known. They are seen. And what they’re counting toward goes beyond earthly recognition. Yes, we need to celebrate and applaud accomplishment, but we also need to remember it’s not the be-all and end-all of true success.

The Verdict: Our favourite heroes in a half-shell are back, bringing the perfect balance of nostalgia, nonsense, and need-to-know life advice. 3.5/5

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows is in cinemas now.

For more film reviews from a Christian perspective, connect with Reel Gospel on Facebook and Twitter.

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