Why 1990 Was Actually A Great Year For Comic Book Movies

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But between the two Turtle movies, while the earlier one lost out in representing state of the art effects work, it remains the superior film for being the best, most streamlined version of a Turtles movie made so far. It was a simple tale of good versus evil, the Turtles being good and the Foot Clan led by Shredder being evil. The Foot’s goal was simple crime, and aside from keeping New York City safe, the Turtles only struggled with their own interpersonal dynamics. How can they be team? How can they be brothers? It’s hardly a new theme, but it’s one that works to the film’s benefit.

For a movie about four pizza-eating mutant reptiles trained in martial arts to fight crime, the movie was surprising grounded and gritty, and not entirely outside the realm of other New York crime dramas like Mean Streets and Taxi Driver, albeit with tongue in cheek and more family friendly. This was at the tail end of New York as the poster child of American urban decay, before Rudy Giuliani rode in on his proverbial horse to clean up the town.

For that and other reasons, Barron’s Turtles manages to overcome its technical limitations and endear itself on the basis of the strength of the material. In the end, it’s about having fun watching these anthropomorphic turtles living, loving and fighting together. That may be reading too much into the material, but the Turtles haven’t endured for over 30 years because they’re a one-note gimmick.

At the time, more than a few people thought that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was too dark for the kids, despite the fact that it found a relatively stable middle ground between the ultra-violent original black and white comic, and the sunnier Saturday morning cartoon that, by this point, most people who knew the Turtles were more familiar with. Really though, Turtles probably fit in pretty well tonally with Batman, another superhero that many people thought was perhaps overly dark.