How Do You Screw Up Casey Jones This Badly?
If you’ve read TK’s review, you’ll know that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows isn’t nearly as bad as its dumpster fire predecessor. It’s less grim and some of the action scenes are fun, and if the plot is convoluted and stupid, hey, at least Michelangelo never talks about his dick. It’s not a good movie, but it didn’t make me want to throw things at the movie screen.
H. O. W.
Do you fuck up the character of Casey Jones this badly?
To provide a point of reference—in the original 1990 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie (which is the version of Turtles I’m most familiar with; I watched the cartoon, but not as much and I don’t remember it well), Casey Jones is a smartass hobo vigilante whom we first meet when Raphael has to stop him from literally beating up a pair of teenagers with a baseball bat. I repeat: HE IS MORE VIOLENT AND LESS EMOTIONALLY STABLE THAN RAPHAEL THE EMO ANGST TURTLE.
He uses the words “fungoid,” barfaroni,” and “hose brain,” tries to cut carrots with a samurai sword, and, in the words of April O’Neil, is “a nine-year-old trapped in a man’s body. He might almost be cute if it wasn’t for that pigheadedness.” Basically, he’s a doofus masquerading as a scoundrel, like Han Solo if Han Solo were also kind of a psychopath. He compacted a trash truck with Shredder inside it. He had to have thought he straight-up murdered him, right?
There’s also this moment, which completely went over my head when I was a kid:
That doesn’t even make sense, Casey, you dipshit.
Contrast that with the Out of the Shadows Casey Jones (Stephen Amell), who is… a cop. How do you get Casey Jones so wrong that you make him a got-damned officer of the law? What’s the point of gritting up the TMNT franchise—and for all that Out of the Shadows is a lot less grimdark than 2014’s Turtles, it’s still more “generic action blockbuster” than the ‘90 Turtles, which was definitely a goofy kid’s movie—and removing the only element that was actually vaguely gritty? Amell’s Casey Jones is a smiley, bland, pointless sack of mayo. He’s practically Canadian. Amell has said that this is an origin story for Casey, and he’ll become the immature, punk-ass bum we all (OK, I all) know and love in future movies. It’s too late. You already done fucked up, Robin Hood.
And speaking of April O’Neill—I worry that I may be revealing too much of myself here, OK, but April and Casey had some serious steam. To wit:
You are full damn aware that they hatebanged in every room of that farm. She’s the put-together professional; he’s the smartass jerk who gets under her skin. They bicker, but you know they want to get it on. For me, they were Han and Leia before Han and Leia were Han and Leia, which is possible either because I watched TMNT before Star Wars or I am a time traveler. Your call.
In Out of the Shadows, April and Casey are both equally bland, generically attractive people who flirt and smile at each other in their bland, generically attractive way.
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