Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem Review 

September 12, 2023

By Marc Peoples

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise has been around since 1984. It started as comics and then transitioned to television, video games, and film.

For those who are in their 30s or 40s, it’s sort of nostalgia, but to be honest most of the films have not been good. After the success of the original film that was released in 1990, studios managed to produce six more movies, some sequels, and others are reboots. After suffering through the “Michael Bay Ninja Turtles” movies Nickelodeon knew it was time for another reboot. As a casual Ninja Turtles fan, this is probably the best one since the original. 

Mutant Mayhem is another origin story with some changes. The Turtles are still the same as we always knew them to be: Leonardo is the leader, Raphael is the aggressive one, Donatello is the nerd, and Michelangelo is the comedian.

They are the first noticeable plus in the film because they act like teenagers, unlike the past where they were always portrayed as young adults. The Turtles here talk and act like kids and have dreams of attending high school and getting girlfriends. The voice actors who portrayed them are teenagers as well. 

Another plus goes to the portrayal of April O’Neil. In past iterations, she’s usually an adult who’s a confident news reporter. In Mutant Mayhem, she’s an overweight black high school student who dreams of becoming a journalist but suffers from social anxiety. Despite the “controversial race-swapping”, I can honestly say this is the most relatable version of April and you will find yourself rooting for her. 

This time around the main villain is Superfly, the mutant housefly portrayed by Ice Cube. He also leaves a surprisingly good impression. It’s hard not to smile whenever he shows up. He’s a six-foot fly who speaks like he was raised in the hood. He also has a pretty understandable motivation for wanting to dominate humanity so he and his fellow mutants including the turtles can live on their own terms after being shunned by humans. 

The biggest takeaway though is the animation. It has the comic book look that was heavily inspired by Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, but the movie has more of a sketchy look to it. You’ll see most of the action scenes and explosions look like drawings from high school notebooks or unfinished concept art. So, if you’re into that animation style this is a definite must-see. 

Finally, the music. The score was composed by the Academy Award-winning duo Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross (known for composing films such as The Social Network, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and Soul). With their electronic, rock-mixed, melancholic melodies; the classic East Coast hip-hop brings out the fun and heart of the film. There’s even a callback to Vanilla Ice’s hit “Ninja Rap”. 

As a Ninja Turtles fan, this is the best film since the original. It’s fun, it has heart, and it’s emotional. This is one that both older fans and new ones can enjoy. Once the movie is over, make sure you stay during the credits; there’s an appearance of a fan-favorite villain who’s set to appear in the next film. With any luck, their next battleground might take place in Harlem

Marc Peoples

Marc Peoples is a writer, film, and game enthusiast with a full range of electronic or digital games experience, who lives on the West Coast in Los Angeles, CA. He graduated with honors from the Los Angeles Film School (LAFS), where he studied film and screenwriting. www.linkedin.comwww.instagram.com

Photo Credit: 1) reelgood.com 2) editotial.rottentomatoes.com 3) denofgeek.com 4) Polygon.com

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