TMNT Mutant Mayhem – Review

It’s starting to feel like we’re entering some kind of animation golden age. Studios are breaking away from the Pixar formula and the weirdly unified art style, looking for new stories and new ways to tell them.

TMNT: Mutant Mayhem certainly doesn’t look like a Disney movie, the visible thick brush strokes and a less grounded, more expressive art style really set it apart. It’s not quite “every frame a work of art” in the way the Spider-verse movies accomplish but it does look fantastic. It doesn’t get super abstract but it’s still emotive and bold enough that they successfully dropped in some other styles and even some live-action.

A night time city scape of a bridge NYC
A candid shot of the Ninja Turtles and April, Left to Right Donatello Raphael Michelangelo  Leonardo and April

The story makes for a decent take on the turtles’ origin as they set out to explore the human world and gain acceptance but the message gets a little muddled. Seemingly acceptance shouldn’t have to be earned but that might be the best way to get it? It does a great job with its “villains that have a point”, at the very least avoiding the Marvel problem of “they have a point but they just exploded some innocents”.

Action scenes are well choreographed, making great use of the art style and the medium. Oh, and Jackie Chan voices Splinter and I’ll just say that they don’t waste that opportunity. The voice cast is pretty excellent, some kids I’m not familiar with voice our heroes in a half shell and there’s a bunch of celebrity guests. Ice Cube as a mutant antagonist? Post Malone as a singing fish? Paul Rudd as a skateboarding Gecko! 

A group shot of the turtles Left to Right Donatello pulling a face, Leonardo reading seriously, then Raphael and Michelangelo pulling faces
Donatello swinging a pole

The characters are written well with their own voices. However, the humour is all over the place. It’s very reference-heavy and will age quickly. Some of this is how kids talk, but it does have a touch of “fellow kids syndrome”. It’s aimed squarely at younger teenagers but I did appreciate some of the goofiness and there are some legitimate japes.

Older fans may need to approach Mutant Mayhem with an open mind to accept the exaggerated style and the Gen Z of it all, but there is a lot to love here. The turtles seem true to the core of their characters, they just have iPads and watch TikToks. That said “we” called everyone dude and formed our personalities around pizza and skateboards. The art style may be divisive but it’s refreshing and exciting to watch. The licensed soundtrack might not be to everyone’s taste but is full of solid picks. Someone is going to hate it, but they made The Purple One ARMY and that made me smile. 

April looking at her notes
A strange fish creature played by Post Malone

I’m putting Mutant Mayhem somewhere between The Super Mario Bros. Movie and Across The Spider-verse, it doesn’t have quite as much style and substance as Spider-verse but it has more soul than Mario had, although it’s probably just about as referential. I can’t recommend the movie to everyone but it’s a great intro for kids and younger teens, with enough objectively cool moments to appeal to open-minded older fans.

8/10 star rating
The Ninja Turtles and Splinter in action poses






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