Rise of the TMNT Season 2 Review – The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles live up to the name of their new series
If you can watch that video and not want to watch Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles you are not a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fan. First, the animation is incredible. There are few animated properties that go into such depth and scale for television, let alone reach this level of fluidity and polish. Secondly, the fight choreography is at the ultimate-tier. The flawless teamwork that transitions from individual attacks to unified strikes is godly. There are very few properties that ever feature this kind of indomitable teamwork and fewer that do it for a noticeable period of time. I can only think of a few Anime’s that pull of extended fight sequences like this and those are all movies. American properties usually have a team attack that is epic but rarely do you see them fight in unison for longer than a minute. The only one I can think of in the MCU is Cap and Bucky vs Iron Man. But speaking of the MCU, April O’Neil took it to Shredder like Cap did to Thanos and Mikey’s wrap up had that Spider-Man flare all over it. Lastly, that x-factor that resonates. There’s no way to watch that scene without feeling some type of way. It’s a blend of funny, awesome, heart-felt, goofy, cool, etc. that leaves a lasting impression. It’s one of those things you think about in a property that spans decades.
Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ends its second season with a legendary final battle that puts all the pieces together from both seasons. Usually having 11 minute-ish episodes that can usually serve as one-offs, it was hard to really track the progression of the overall story. It was not linear as most of us are used to, especially in the age and time where binge-watching is the norm. The quarter-hour episodes gave the Turtles a Looney Tunes-esque feel, which turned many away. Coupled with the change in team dynamic, like Raph being the leader and Splinter being much more lax, many “fans” are still angry about it. While I admit the change is jarring, I was sold early on. You can read my initial review when the series came out, but to sum it up, the attention to detail of the creators, the voice direction of the great Rob Paulsen, and the immediately impressive cast, there was nothing to not enjoy.
But, in retrospect to the incredible long-form storytelling of the 2012 series and the 2003 series, this almost slice of life/one-off format can be understandably off-putting. I understand and there were times I just shut my mind off and enjoyed the hilarious antics of the very famil-friendly, and obviously younger-skewing, Turtles. That being said, this series did a lot to advance the franchise. April is a much more pronounced character in this series. She is immediately on equal footing with the Turtles and oftentimes leading the charge rather than waiting to be rescued. Which I believe is a great step forward and just a good look in general. We don’t have to retreat damsel in distress April, the original series had that as a recurring theme. Donatello is also a more prominent character. Not that the other versions don’t represent Donatello well, but there isn’t a focus on Dontaello’s smarts keeping him from being as great a warrior as everyone else. In fact, he’s often the one looking down on his brothers. It’s a nice change of pace.
Back to the short series/one-off format. I get why it did not excite people, especially in contrast to the amazing stories the last two versions had and the general culture of binge-watching. However, Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles had a long game that culminated in the season finale. The best way to describe Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is as a mosaic. Every episode is its own piece that stands alone as a cool piece of work. Some better than others, some are better in compliment to another, but all their own individual works. However, when you put them all together, you end up with this amazing work of art that you didn’t realize you were seeing until you saw it all. In the video above, you have callbacks that go all the way to the first episode. If you see the whole scene and not just the fight, you see 70 separate episodes come together to create one incredible series. It’s like seeing a 1,000 piece puzzle put together. The best part, you don’t realize it until you see it.
Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Season 2 was a fun show that was always light-hearted and joyously entertaining. Great animation, great performances, and just a general joy to watch. At first glance, it never felt like more than a really good TMNT YouTube video. But as the season progress and finale neared, you begin seeing the pieces come together. Once the season finale was over, you see one of the most developed and well-executed TMNT properties ever made. Andy Suriano, Ant Ward, and the rest of their team did a masterful job creating a show for a new generation of TMNT fans to jump on to, as well as elevate the series for long time fans. While my interest in the episodes varied, as they would in any series, the final product was without question a masterpiece. My Rise of the TMNT Season 2 review gets a 4.5/5.
Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles airs on NickToons and you can stream episodes now via the Nick App.
Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Season 2
Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Season 2 was a fun show that was always light-hearted and joyously entertaining. Great animation, great performances, and just a general joy to watch. At first glance, it never felt like more than a really good TMNT YouTube video. But as the season finale came, you begin seeing the pieces come together. Once the season finale was over, you see one of the most developed and well-executed TMNT properties out. Andy Suriano, Ant Ward, and the rest of their team did a masterful job creating a show for a new generation of TMNT fans to jump on to, as well as elevate the series for long time fans. While my interest in the episodes varied, as they would in any series, the final product was without question a masterpiece.