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TMNT: Mutant Mayhem Reviews Are In - Here's What Rotten Tomatoes Critics Are Saying

The first "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem" reviews from Rotten Tomatoes critics will leave fans shell-shocked. 

Following the financial disappointment that was 2016's live-action "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows," Paramount Pictures went back to the drawing board with the "TMNT" franchise. The studio eventually found themselves in conversation with "Superbad" writers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, who pitched a more age-appropriate version of the iconic turtles. For Rogen and Goldberg, the vision was clear: create a movie where the turtles are actually depicted as teenagers. "As a lifelong fan of Ninja Turtles, weirdly the 'Teenage' part of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was always the part that stuck out to me the most," Rogen said in a 2020 chat with Collider. Seeing as the two have written their fair share of teen films, it makes sense that the two were brought on board to launch a new generation of "TMNT" content. 

With a cast comprising of teenagers and a visual language that marries the distinctive looks of comic books and traditional animation, "TMNT: Mutant Mayhem" is a unique and inventive take on the iconic franchise. As expected, Rotten Tomatoes critics are absolutely in love with the animated "TMNT" flick. Looper critic Reuben Baron was enthusiastic about the reboot, giving it a 7.5/10 rating, describing it as "a breezy good time that flies by and looks awesome." 

/Film writer Rafael Motamayor was equally impressed with the animated flick, praising it for taking the franchise in a new and bold direction. "'Mutant Mayhem' really benefits from a bold visual style suited for the big screen, an incredible cast that really encapsulates the teenage part of the turtles, a heartfelt script that introduces the characters to a new generation, and a phenomenal soundtrack," Motamayor wrote, giving the film a near perfect rating.

Rotten Tomatoes critics love Mutant Mayhem's animation

One of the most exciting components of "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem" is its rich, comic book-like visuals, which no doubt are influenced by the lush, eye-popping animation style that "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" helped pioneer. Unsurprisingly, Rotten Tomatoes critics love the way "TMNT" looks and feels. IndieWire critic Kate Erbland described the animation style as "painterly and scribbly, heavy on the neon, vibrant and punchy," comparing it to the musings one might have in a sketchbook. Erbland continued by highlighting how the unique visuals allow certain flexibility and freedom, especially when it comes to the film's violence, saying that the "animation style also allows the film [...] to get away with moments of surprising violence and genuine grotesquerie that would have likely landed a live-action version a pretty solid R." 

Deadline's Pete Hammond particularly highlighted the film's impressive visuals, writing, "Fans will not be disappointed with any of the decisions here, notably the scattershot animation that feels rough around the edges, stylish, anti-CGI blandness, and visually surprising and satisfying." Hammond also praised Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg's script, favorably comparing it to Tom Holland's "Spider-Man" films and pointing out that "Mutant Mayhem" is brimming with pop culture references. 

Besides the film's visuals, another recurring positive in the "Mutant Mayhem" reviews is how Rotten Tomatoes critics are pleased with the decision to cast actual teenagers in the lead roles. "Casting actual youngsters as the voices of the four heroes is an inspired move, too; the four largely unknown actors given ample room to goof around with the script, talk over each other, squabble and enjoy an easy level of banter," wrote Empire critic John Nugent in their four-star review. 

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem is a blast from the past

For many Rotten Tomatoes critics, who are hardcore "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" fans, "Mutant Mayhem" is an absolute knockout. Gizmodo writer Germain Lussier gushed about the film in a highly positive review, saying, "The film is dynamite, perfectly blending a modern, childlike wonder, with a healthy dose of 1990s nostalgia, wrapped in a heartfelt, relatable story about growing up and feeling different." Most "Mutant Mayhem" reviews from Rotten Tomatoes critics echo similar sentiments, with Mahable's Kristy Puchko calling the animated flick "a hyper-active romp that's chaotically charming" and filled to the brim with nostalgia. 

Uproxx writer Mike Ryan says that "Mutant Mayhem" is the closest thing contemporary audiences have to a trip down memory lane. "This is the first theatrical Turtles film that comes anywhere close to that feeling in the mid-'80s of something that was weird and underground and a little edgy," Ryan wrote. Matt Singer of ScreenCrush notes that the film veers into familiar territory but does enough to separate itself from its predecessors, writing, "While the plot line involves yet another dutiful retelling of the Turtles' origin, along with yet another first encounter with their perennial human bestie April O'Neil, the way that plot line plays out has tons of unique personality and charm." 

Of course, not all Rotten Tomatoes critics were enthusiastic about "Mutant Mayhem." The Daily Beast critic Nick Schager was mixed on the film, wishing that the film was more daring. "Cleverness, however, is in short supply throughout the rest of this functional endeavor, as Rowe and his collaborators tick off items on their IP checklist and diligently avoid deviating from formula," Schager wrote, saying that the film's stellar visuals aren't enough to make this "TMNT" reboot a winner. 

Paramount is going all-in on Mutant Mayhem

As of this writing, "Mutant Mayhem" has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 95%. That number will likely fluctuate as more reviews trickle in. 

Paramount Pictures clearly knew that had a winner on their hands with "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem." Prior to the film's release, the studio revealed that a sequel to "Mutant Mayhem" was already in the works. While it remains to be seen when the sophomore "TMNT" outing hits cinemas, director Jeff Rowe is already on board to helm the second installment. Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg will also return as producers. Paramount's confidence doesn't just end there, as the company has also greenlit a spin-off series titled "Tales of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles." The 2D animated series will debut on Paramount+ and will take place between "Mutant Mayhem" and its upcoming sequel.

The turtle mania has just started. Early projections for "TMNT: Mutant Mayhem" are extremely positive, with the animated flick expected to make a considerable splash at the box office. With stellar reviews from Rotten Tomatoes critics and confidence from Paramount, "Mutant Mayhem" already has what it takes to revitalize the "TMNT" franchise. ComicBook.com writer Evan Valentine was mostly mixed on the film, but couldn't express how excited they were to see what Paramount has in store for fans with subsequent projects. "The ending provides a status quo that has never been explored in any other Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle story we've seen and, considering that this new take on the four siblings has already been confirmed for both a sequel and a television series, it's nice to know this will be explored," Valentine teased. 

"Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem" hits cinemas on August 2.