Film Reviews by Matt Hill

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:
Mutant Mayhem
Reboot in a half shell

The Story
Four mutant turtles (Micah Abbey, Shamon Brown Jr., Nicolas Cantu, Brady Noon) plan to stop the notorious villain superfly (Ice Cube), in an attempt to win acceptance from the human population.
It’s odd to think that this year marks a whopping 40 years since the ‘heroes in a half shell’ were created. Since then, they’ve risen from their comic book origins, to popular TV series, and a plethora of so-so films. This new reboot, written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, (the pair behind Superbad and Sausage Party) are hoping to reinvigorate the franchise for the modern audience, but is it a slice of success? Or sewer soaked stuffed crust?
Thankfully Mutant Mayhem is a pretty good time. Thanks in part to the focus on the young turtles’ dynamic with each other and their master, a mutant rat named Splinter (voiced by Jackie Chan), acting more as a father figure, than a martial arts master. The turtles are cast brilliantly, being played by teenagers, and bringing with them that youthful chaotic energy as they constantly bicker and bounce off each other. You get a real sense of their dynamic, and understand why so many people fell in love with them growing up.
What really helps set Mutant Mayhem apart is its rough hand drawn aesthetic, and it does the movie wonders. Each character seems to pop with their own individuality, playing into the mayhem unfolding on screen. Whilst the animation is great, the origin story itself seems to suffer from ‘been there, done that’ fatigue, and does little outside the turtles charisma to really set itself apart.
In a Nutshell
All in all, Mutant Mayhem is a pretty fun movie. The turtle’s energy helps pull you along this tried and tested story. I can see kids and younger teens having a blast with it, even if it didn’t do much for me.

Blue Beetle
More of the same

Recent college graduate Jamie Reyes (Xolo Maridueña) becomes bonded with a piece of alien technology known as the ‘Scarab’, entangling him and his family in a power struggle for control of it.
There was a time when superhero films didn’t dominate the cinema screens, but now they’re almost everywhere you look. Meaning, if you’re going to make a new superhero flick, you really need to do something special in order to stand out in this increasingly crowded genre. After all, Blue Beetle is already the sixth superhero to release in 2023, and there’s still more to come.
So does this Latin infused superhero flick do enough to set itself apart from the pack?
Short answer, no, but that doesn’t mean the film is a bad time by any means. The film chooses to focus more on the family dynamic, giving the film some true moments of warmth and charm. Not to mention the suit itself is a great bit of kit that displays some cool powers as it develops its dynamic with Jamie. Which in turn allows for some solid action sequences, and a fair amount of comedy to shine through.
One of the main problems comes in the form of the generic and uninteresting storyline. If you’ve watched any superhero origin story, you’ll have seen this film before, and likely, seen it done better. On top of that the film’s corporate villain leaves a lot to be desired. In fact, it’s mostly henchman Carapax (Raoul Max Trujillo) that Reyes will be battling with in her stead. Still when the action does happen it’s enjoyable and well choreographed.
In a Nutshell
Jamie Reyes is a great character, and the family bond is nice, but the familiar origin tale, and poor villain just keep it at a so-so time. Ultimately you’ll be satisfied enough if you decide to watch it, but you won’t have any regrets if you decide to skip it either.