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The animation is suitably idiosyncratic, the characters are well-defined and the youthful humour and energy are laudably fun yet almost every scene in this comic book reboot is so damn boring!

As someone who grew up on the eighties animation series I will always have a certain soft spot for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, no matter how many times they try to reboot the IP. But while this new animated movie does interesting things and definitely has its heart in the right spot, the end result still mostly underwhelms.

Let's start off with the good things about Mutant Mayhem. Perhaps inspired by the Spider-Verse movies, for the first time the turtles truly are depicted as typical, wholly believable teenagers on-screen, which adds freshness, energy, humour and empathy to the titular heroes.

Another plus is the animation, which hews close to the Turtles' origins as an underground comic. However, while this creates a suitable gritty, irreverent tone and style for the film, some of the character redesigns range from the uninspired to the downright ill-advised, especially the pivotal characters of Splinter and April O'Neil.

I would have forgiven the picture for this had Mutant Mayhem brought an exciting story at a break-neck pace to the table, but it is here that the filmmakers let down the audience the most. From a rote villain to a lack of narrative propulsion and a huge letdown of a third act, the picture failed over and over to get me involved.

It wouldn't surprise me if this new team behind the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fully cracked the code in a sequel, but, in Mutant Mayhem at least, the bad decisions still outweigh the intriguing ones.

release: 2023

director: Jeff Rowe

starring: Jackie Chan, Seth Rogen, Ayo Edebiri, Ice Cube


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