6 Things I Want to See in a Ninja Turtles Sequel
I would be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. I couldn’t help myself. The film was too energetic to be boring, and I will forever be a lifelong fan of the Ninja Turtles. That’s not to say it wasn’t a ridiculously stupid movie. There were so many plot holes and gaps in logic that I considered making a whole List of Six out of those flubs.
But I’m a positive guy who loves everything Ninja Turtles related! With a sequel already announced, I felt like embracing this franchise and everything it has to offer!
And I’m only maybe talking about the Punk Frogs. One of the things I loved most about the Ninja Turtles cartoon in the 80s was the huge cast of fun and colorful mutants. But Michael Bay and Friends should probably stay away from adding too many new mutants to a movie franchise. So that’s out. I also probably shouldn’t request they change everything, like the stupid new take on the Turtles’ origin. We’re probably stuck with this new status quo, but it’s not so bad, as long as you just ignore it and focus on other parts of the movie.
As bad as this movie might be, we’re looking at a whole new Ninja Turtles franchise here, folks. I, for one, am going to embrace this new madness! Join me after the jump for my six suggestions for the Ninja Turtles sequel!
6. Make the Turtles the stars
My No. 1 complaint about the new Ninja Turtles movie is that the Turtles themselves were practically secondary characters. The star of the film was Megan Fox’s April O’Neil, much like how the first three Transformers movies were mostly about Shia LeBeouf. Even Will Arnett’s Vernon Fenwick got a ton of screen time and character development. The Turtles were people that April encountered, and the movie was just so fast-paced that we never really spent any time just hanging out with the Turtles. They were always either running or fighting or ogling Megan Fox.
The cartoons, comics and first movies were all about the Turtles. We watched them eat pizza and hang around the lair. We saw them learn lessons and interact. There’s some of that in the new movie, but the film is too busy to slow down. That needs to change for the sequel. So much time was spent bringing these new, CGI Turtles to life, let us enjoy them.
5. Irma Langinstein
I was legitimately surprised and entertained by Vernon Fenwick in the new film, which is kind of insane. Do you remember Vernon from the 80s cartoon? He was the prissy news reporter in the pink shirt who hung out at Channel 6 with April. I was surprised that he was even in the new movie, but actually, the new film is packed with references and callbacks to the old show. As a fanboy, I couldn’t be happier.
So what’s Vernon without Irma? Remember her? The frumpy, sweater-wearing sidekick to April O’Neil? Unlike Vernon, Irma has made a few appearance since the 80s, including a very minor role in Nickelodeon’s current cartoon. She’s a nice foil for April, and if the show plans on making April a big deal, she could use some other human friends. And obviously they should cast Alia Shawkat or Mae Whitman.
4. Can the Turtles please win a fight?
I realize that the Shredder is the ultimate ninja badass, but do the Ninja Turtles always have to get their shells completely shellacked each time they face him? Can not even Leonardo hold his own against the Shredder? It happened in the first live action movie, and it happened again in this new reboot – though the fight in the new film is much, much, much more exciting. It’s just depressing when the Turtles can defeat any number of faceless henchmen, but they can barely raise their weapons in a boss battle against the Shredder.
It never helps, of course, that the Turtles follow standard henchmen rules for fighting, where you only attack your foe one at a time. But the Shredder absolutely demolishes each one of them, and Splinter too! I’d prefer to see an actual back and forth fight, show that the Turtles know their stuff. Is it too much to ask to see the good guys win a fight?
3. No Utroms, Kraangs, Triceratons or aliens of any kind
As much as I may love me some Krang from the original cartoon, I have never understood how the Turtles could be so closely tied to insane alien stories. The Turtles may be weird in and of themselves, but I like it better when they stick to the alleys and rooftops of New York, moving through the shadows like ninja warriors and fighting to save the city. If you start throwing in an alien invasion, or rock soldiers from Dimension X, or aliens that look like triceratops for some reason, then you’re just getting too insane.
There are plenty of evil plans that the Shredder could enact on the streets of New York for the Turtles to stop. There are plenty of ways to keep a story about giant, mutant, ninja turtles grounded in reality. Freaky aliens are not one of them.
Alright…maybe I’ll relent and allow Krang. Especially if he brings along the Technodrome!
2. Individual Turtle Stories
I know I just said I wanted more time spent hanging out with the Turtles, but there’s no reason they can’t get some personal time as well. Only Raphael spent any time without his brothers in the new movie, and that lasted all of 10 minutes, maybe. Some of the best Turtle stories involve the brothers splitting up, even if one of them is just making a pizza run or something. Maybe Leonardo has a vision quest or Donatello gets wrapped up in something he shouldn’t. Whatever the case, the next film needs to split up the Turtles here and there, letting them spread their wings and fly solo for a bit – before coming back together for the finale.
And I don’t mean they need to break up as a team. That’s a cliche as old as time, and the enjoyment of the film comes from the Turtles together. I just mean they could all use their own subplots in a new film. Maybe set up a rivalry between Leonardo and Karai. It’s not like she has anything else going on.
1. Bebop and Rocksteady
I don’t know how it happened, but sometime between my childhood and now, Bebop and Rocksteady have become my all-time favorite characters in the franchise (just behind Leonardo, of course). I don’t think I could stand them back in the 80s cartoon, but now I consider them truly fascinating and full of potential. Maybe it’s the lack of respect they get in every adaptation since. They didn’t make it into the first live action films. Both cartoon reboots have completely ignored them. Bebop and Rocksteady may be idiots, but handled correctly, the can be downright awesome.
Speaking of which, Michael Bay or IDW Comics, if you’re reading this, I have the ultimate Bebop and Rocksteady story. Give me a call next time you’re rebooting the Ninja Turtles.
Bebop and Rocksteady are the perfect bad guy foils for the Ninja Turtles. Whereas the Turtles are sleek, skilled, reptilian warriors who strike from the shadows with blades and bo staffs, Bebop and Rocksteady are big, dumb, brawling mammals who favor guns and explosives. They’re exact opposites. So if you’re going to give the Shredder some mutants of his own to fight the Turtles (and you absolutely should; that’s something Secret of the Ooze got right), then Bebop and Rocksteady are the perfect choice. They’re visually distinct and interesting, and if handled properly, they could be a legitimate threat.
(So don’t turn them into babies, which is what Secret of the Ooze got wrong.)
Fortunately for us all, the people behind the new franchise have already hinted at wanting to bring Bebop and Rocksteady into the sequel. Just as long as one of them says the word ‘Toitles!’
Plot Hole Bonus Round!
How did the Foot Clan’s crime wave tie into any of the Shredder’s overall plans? What were their plans prior to finding the Ninja Turtles and rediscovering the mutagen? How did William Sacks go from being an orphan in Japan to being a billion dollar businessman in New York City? How is it the first day of Spring in New York City, but a mountainous estate only a few miles away is covered in snow? If April is trying to get famous with the ‘vigilante’ angle on the Foot Clan story, why doesn’t she stick around to interview the dozens of hostages who were saved by those very vigilantes? If the Turtles wiped April’s phone to erase the picture she took of them, why do they give it back to her with plenty of time for her to take more pictures? Why didn’t she use those pictures to prove her vigilante story to her boss? Why did she then, only minutes later, use those pictures to prove the existence of the Turtles to Sacks? If Sacks and the Shredder kidnapped three of the Turtles to get the mutagen out of their blood, why didn’t they also kidnap Splinter and Raphael, who were both defeated in the fight and easy pickings? Was Sacks just holding onto tons of poison in the top of his office building for 15 years even though his plan had been stopped a long time ago? Why did the Turtles think the mutagen would heal Splinter? HOW AND WHY DID SPLINTER LEARN NINJITSU OUT OF A BOOK?!?!
Jeez. Stupid movie.
What did you think of the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie? I didn’t do a full review, but I generally enjoyed watching the movie, no matter how ridiculous it was. I tend to feel the same way about the Transformers films. A sequel is already in the works for the new Ninja Turtles, so what would you like to see in the movie?
And feel free to suggest Casey Jones. He didn’t make my list for…deeply held personal reasons.