This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labor of the writers and actors currently on strike, the film being covered here wouldn’t exist.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem has officially hit theaters, and to acclaim from audiences and critics alike! Written by Jeff Rowe, Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, Dan Hernandez and Benji Samit, the animated film reimagines the reptilian heroes in a modern setting. In addition to its fresh new spin on the Turtles’ origin story, Mutant Mayhem is uniquely animated and boasts a phenomenal voice cast.
While the titular heroes are voiced by less known teen actors in Micah Abbey (Donatello), Shamon Brown Jr. (Michelangelo), Nicolas Cantu (Leonardo) and Brady Noon (Raphael), the supporting cast is full of big names. Splinter, the Turtles’ adoptive father and mentor is voiced by the one and only Jackie Chan, while Ice Cube portrays the film’s primary antagonist, Superfly.
Also lending their vocal talents to Mutant Mayhem are Paul Rudd (Mondo Gecko), John Cena (Rocksteady), Seth Rogen (Bebop), Hannibal Buress (Genghis Frog), Rose Byrne (Leatherhead), Giancarlo Esposito (Baxter Stockman), Post Malone (Ray Fillet) and Maya Rudolph (Cynthia Utrom). Ayo Edebiri is absolutely delightful as the voice behind April O’Neil, the Turtles’ main human ally and more of a peer in this film compared to other versions.
It’s far too early to tell how the film will fare at the box office, especially considering that it’s competing with summer blockbusters like Barbie and Oppenheimer. Regardless of financial results, Paramount and Nickelodeon plan on building out this new Ninja Turtles universe. The two companies have partnered to greenlight a spinoff series for Paramount+ titled Tales of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which will be directly connected to Mutant Mayhem. A sequel film has also already been confirmed, which is not surprising given Mutant Mayhem‘s ending.
*Warning: Spoilers ahead for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem*
How does Mutant Mayhem’s ending set up Mutant Mayhem 2?
This delightfully wholesome animated reboot of the Ninja Turtles flies by with its 1:39 runtime, so much so that it will have you wanting more. The film leaves off in a place that certainly resolves the initial story, as the Turtles foil Superfly’s plot to have mutants overtake society and kill off humanity. Additionally, April O’Neil conquers her anxiety about being on camera and gains notoriety for her deep dive into the heroes’ backstory. Splinter grows past the hesitancy to let his adoptive sons out of the shadows to experience the outside world, as the Turtles enroll in high school.
While the streets of New York are safe for now, they likely won’t be for too much longer. TCRI (Techno Cosmic Research Institute), the scientific corporation indirectly responsible for the creation of the Turtles, Superfly and the other remaining mutants, is still operating behind the scenes. Cynthia Utrom (Maya Rudolph) views the Turtles as her property, and wishes to regain possession of them. Since her armed security forces fail to keep the heroes in captivity, Cynthia decides to outsource this task to a very familiar third party.
Does a Mutant Mayhem post credit scene set up Mutant Mayhem 2?
To label what follows Mutant Mayhem‘s conclusion as a post credits scene would be doing it an injustice, as there are actual multiple scenes! That being said, yes, moviegoers will absolutely want to remain in their seats once the credits begin to roll. It is at this point where the Turtles navigate through their new lives as high school students, even joining certain clubs and attending Prom! It’s while the Turtles are there having the time of their lives that it’s revealed Cynthia is surveilling them from afar.
So, who does Cynthia call in a favor from on TCRI’s behalf? None other than The Shredder! He does not speak, nor is he seen from anywhere but behind, but it’s definitely the Turtles’ most iconic rival in the film’s final frame. In case the brief glimpse at him isn’t obvious enough, the film’s final line is indeed Cynthia as she instructs her underlings to “bring me the Shredder.” It’s about to go down, folks!
The future of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is in good hands
With an exciting, widely praised animated reboot in the books and more connected installments on the way, it’s a very good time to be a Ninja Turtles fan. The creative team responsible for this film genuinely cares about the source material and poured a lot of love into it. Provided this group retains creative control, it’s safe to say that the connected projects to follow will resonate just as well with fans as Mutant Mayhem does.
The entertainment industry is currently filled with many franchises that become interwoven with other IP’s under a shared umbrella. Many times, this comes at the expense of simply telling a great standalone story. As such, it’s refreshing to see a franchise like the Ninja Turtles that has a chance to simply flesh out its beloved characters and rogues gallery. Increased focus on telling great stories that people hold dear is the key to prolonged success for this popular franchise moving forward.
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