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  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Was the Turtles joining Mikey in on his beat-boxing before the final battle with Shredder just a silly moment? Or did they realize that Shredder could kill any one of them, so they decided to have one last moment together as brothers in case one (or all) of them dies?
  • Author's Saving Throw: The trailers seem to have been released with content specifically to combat internet rumors.
    • Showing the TCRI canisters in the trailer was most likely to prove to the audience that the Turtles aren't aliens.
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    • This extends in the second trailer where Vernon asks if they're aliens, only for April to tell him that it's stupid.
    • The second trailer shows Eric Sacks telling a man shrouded in shadows, "We're taking your armor to the next level", hinting that the Shredder may not be getting a Race Lift after all. The film reveals this is indeed the case.
  • Bile Fascination: With multiple instances of Tainted by the Preview and Michael Bay's involvement given his track record with adaptations of franchises in mind, various TMNT fans only watched the film to see if it actually ruined the franchise. Though most felt that this wasn't the case, others considered the movie to be "pure murdered childhood" and spread the word as such.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: The turtles get into an elevator after fighting for a while. On their way up to continue the fight, they beatbox out of nowhere.
  • Broken Base:
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    • Was the use of performance capture and CGI over animatronics, like the earlier live-action films, a good thing or not?
    • The faces of the Turtles, with a mix of human and reptilian features. Some think they look strange and bizarre, whilst others think they look perfectly suitable for the Turtles.
    • The individual designs of the Turtles. Either they're cool and appropriate or way too cluttered.
    • The Turtles and Splinter are revealed to have been lab animals who were April's "pets" back when her father studied the mutagen with Sacks, before the lab was destroyed and they were exposed to the mutagen by accident. This is similar to the IDW comics where April was an intern, but without the reincarnation aspect that still retained Hamato Yoshi's feud with the Shredder (who is immortal in that universe). Regardless, some think it's too contrived, while others like that Splinter and the turtles now have a more intimate connection to April, with them viewing her as a savior.
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  • Character Rerailment: Vernon's portrayal which sees him as friends with April who helps her and Raph rescue the others arguably has him closer to how he originally was portrayed in the first season of the '87 cartoon before he Took a Level in Jerkass and became April's cowardly rival.
  • Complete Monster:
    • Oroku Saki, aka the Shredder, is a powerful leader of the mysterious organization called the Foot Clan, who terrorized the streets of New York City for many years. Having killed at least 32 people, Shredder, along with his adopted son/subordinate Eric Sacks, comes up with a scheme of developing a mutagen, which is capable of curing all toxins, solely so Shredder could infect the whole New York City with a flesh-eating toxin and kill countless people, while Eric Sacks would cure New York for a price. When the Turtles started meddling with his schemes, Shredder ordered Karai to take the entire subway tunnel worth of people as hostages and put bombs in it, solely to draw the Turtles out of the shadows. As the Turtles managed to stop the mechanism from releasing the toxin, Shredder tries to throw the toxins in the streets manually, on the heads of hundreds of people below the tower. After escaping from prison and making an alliance with Krang, Shredder helped him build the giant teleportation device, willing to sell out all Earth and humanity in exchange for power.
    • The aforementioned Eric Sacks is a successful businessman in public and a high-ranking member of the Foot Clan in secret. Helping Shredder to develop a mutagen for their plan, Eric killed the father of April O'Neil, which Eric gloated about to April herself several years later, when he set the lab on fire. Discovering the existence of the Turtles and their lair, Eric notified Shredder, and after getting his hands on the Turtles, he tries to drain all the mutagen from the Turtles, slowly killing them. Revealing to the Turtles their Poison-and-Cure Gambit, which would kill thousands, Eric gloats about becoming "stupid rich" selling a cure and then has one of the Foot Soldiers infected with these toxins, solely to show their effect to the Turtles.
  • Critical Dissonance: The film was subjected to mostly negative reviews from critics, but most consider the film to be So Okay, It's Average. Which is par for the course when it comes to Ninja Turtles movies.
  • Director Displacement: Did you know that the director is Jonathan Liebesman? The teaser sure doesn't.
  • Ear Worm: "KNOCK! KNOCK! YOU ABOUT TO GET SHELL SHOCKED!"
  • Fandom Rivalry: Shaping up to be this with Guardians of the Galaxy. They were released a week apart from each other, and they're both based on comic books with an anthropomorphic animal as one of the main characters. Didn't help that the film managed to steal the number 1 spot from them at the box office (although Guardians had a higher opening). Even more, Guardians actually took back the number 1 spot sometime afterward.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • In hindsight, the backdraft for the whole "the Turtles is aliens" twist after the recent cartoon (also produced by Nickelodeon) revealed that April is essentially an alien in that series.
    • To a lesser and more meta extent is the fact that the turtles look very similiar to popular "realistic fanart". Another meta example is that the trailers have somehow caused people to ship Raph and April again.
    • A meta example comes in the supposed 99-Cheese Pizza Splinter temps Mikey with. Despite Donny's that such a pizza is a 'Culinary Impossibility', a famous pizza maker pulled it off.
    • "Ooh, look, he's doing his Batman voice." becomes funny when it was announced that the Ninja Turtles will have a crossover with Batman in the Fall of 2015. Adding to this is that Vernon's actor, Will Arnett, voiced Batman in The LEGO Movie and The LEGO Batman Movie.
    • The third film had the Turtles bluff Walker, that film's antagonist, and his henchmen into believing they were Immune to Bullets and that the bullets would bounce off and kill them. Here, their shells actually are bulletproof, and they bounce off, though they don't kill any foot clan members.
  • Memetic Mutation:
  • Misblamed:
    • Michael Bay tends to receive all of the scorn of the fan base in spite of simply being a producer for the film. This tends to be par the course for anything Bay is associated with. In a somewhat ironic turn, it turns out that Bay is actually responsible for nixing a lot of bad ideas that others wanted to put in, since he's now fairly aware of how a fanbase will react to changes. But, due to being who he is, he ends up being blamed for a lot of the ideas he was responsible for nixing. Essentially, a lot of the people cursing his name should be thanking him for doing what they wanted!
    • The "Turtles as aliens" rumors. They were eventually revealed to have never been an official part of the story. The rumor was based on a line which, in context, seemed to indicate that the Ooze, rather than the Turtles, would be alien in origin. A throwaway line confirmed this to still be true.
  • Money-Making Shot: Shredder's introduction in full armor, fanning out his excessive number of blades. There is also Raphael crashing shell first into a humvee, flipping it over.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Eric Sacks is revealed to have crossed it years ago when he killed April's father, who had set fire to the Project Renaissance lab to prevent the Shredder from using it towards his own means.
  • Narm: The excessive amount of blades on Shredder's armor can seem goofy and ridiculous, even for a TMNT movie.
  • Never Live It Down: Michael Bay is never going to live down trying to make the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles aliens, even though this wasn't even what was going to happen (he was going to have the ooze that gave the Turtles their abilities be of alien origin, like the original comic and pretty much every other adaptation other than the 80's cartoon and the 90's films.) This can be blamed on Bay stating that the turtles would be "from an alien race" and not clarifying on what he meant.
  • Older Than They Think:
    • Shredder's armor has received some nasty scrutiny from certain portions of the fanbase, with such comments that they turned him into "a Transformer", no doubt inspired by Michael Bay's involvement as producer — even though it's plainly obvious the character is simply wearing full-body Powered Armor, the design of which recalls the Shredder of the 2003 animated series. Some shots of the rooftop battle even show that his arms are exposed, just like nearly every older version.
    • There were also complaints over Shredder not being Japanese. Considering that the Shredder has been an alien, a demonic abomination and a woman, this is hardly the most drastic change to his character. And it turns out, he is Japanese.
    • Having the Turtles and Splinter be lab animals who April already knew back then is similar to the IDW Comics continuity, though with its own twists.
    • Foot Soldiers relying heavily on firearms as opposed to martial arts training and stealth like what is typically expected of ninja also recalls the incarnations depicted in the original animated series, who on the basis of being robots were used repeatedly as Cannon Fodder.
  • Retroactive Recognition:
    • Both Malina Weissmann and K. Todd Freeman, who play Young April and Baxter Stockman here, would go on to play Violet Baudelaire and Mr. Poe in A Series of Unfortunate Events.
  • Scapegoat Creator: Michael Bay's reputation for being blamed for literally everything that people don't like about the movie from the Transformers Film Series carried over to here, perhaps somewhat undeserved if the Misblamed section has anything to say about it.
  • The Scrappy:
    • A lot of people didn't like this incarnation of April O' Neil, due to feeling she takes up too much time in the movie away from the Turtles (not helped due to their dynamic being considered one of the strongest points in the movie), has too bland a subplot, and leads to a lot of what's generally considered Padding.
    • Eric Sacks. When it comes down to it, he's just an unneeded new character who steals the spotlight not only from Shredder, who he was originally supposed to be, and to all intents and purposes, still is, but from Karai and Baxter Stockman as well. The tepid reaction to him is likely why he was never brought up in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows.
  • Shipping:
  • So Bad, It's Good: The general consensus about the new theme song for the movie "Shell Shocked". While the song has been generally criticized for having nonsensical lyrics, many people have appreciated the song for its catchy beat and its general cheesy tone. Which is something previous rap songs about the live actions TMNT movies provided and were famed and appreciated in hindsight for as it fit in with the tone with the movies.
  • So Okay, It's Average: Many fans think the movie is not as terrible as its "rotten" Rotten Tomatoes score saysnote , but not as iconic as the first one in 1990 which most consider the best of the lot. Note that all of the other films have been marked as "rotten", even the All-CGI Cartoon one in 2007. Many agree that the story isn't that good but the action sequences are memorable and it captures the personality of the turtles extremely well.
  • Squick: Anyone who is aware of what a turtle's "private area" looks like can tell you how disgusting that "I can feel my shell tightening" quote is.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • Both Splinter and Shredder, considering that neither of them is given much focus. Most fans agree that the movie would've been much better if it had just made sure to establish the classical feud between them, as usual.
    • Karai. After years of only appearing in cartoons, one of the most interesting and morally ambiguous villains in TMNT finally gets an appearance in a live-action movie... and she ends up being merely used as an enforcer with no character development, who can't even give a good fight against the Turtles.
  • Trailer Joke Decay: "It's just a mask" was shaping up to be this since it appeared in all of the early trailers. Luckily, later trailers and TV spots laid off on it.
  • Ugly Cute: As a result of the below trope. Many fans find the turtles cute in the most grotesque of ways.
  • Uncanny Valley: The turtles' faces have invoked a surprisingly more human appearance than one might expect, leading for some to have had this reaction to them. Justified given that this is meant to be a realistic take on a story about giant mutated humanoid turtles. Also more than likely meant to be an Intended Audience Reaction. Not unexpectedly, images of the tie-in toys don't seem to get this reaction.
  • Unexpected Character: Vernon, who hasn't been seen or mentioned since the 80's version (and wasn't even included in the 1990 movie in which April was likewise a reporter), was thought to be long forgotten. So it was a surprise to longtime fans when he suddenly showed up in a supporting role in this movie.
  • Win the Crowd: The much more Turtle-centric second trailer, featuring franchise-style humor and playfulness from the Turtles, impressive action scenes, and a Money-Making Shot of the Shredder, is generally agreed to be a much better advertisement for the film and has turned some detractors around into supporters while in general calming the fanbase.

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