Best Brother Moments in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ( 2016)

A live-action movie adaptation of the darkest Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic, The Last Ronin, is certainly an exciting prospect, but it’ll struggle to repeat the best trick from the comic book. From a story by TMNT creators Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird, The Last Ronin takes place in an alternate future in which the last surviving turtle sets out to avenge his lost brothers by taking down the grandson of the Shredder, who rules futuristic New York with an iron fist. An R-rated film adaptation of The Last Ronin was announced by Paramount Pictures at a recent CinemaCon event.

The Conjuring’s Walter Hamada is producing the movie from a script by Boy Kills World’s Tyler Burton Smith. The live-action movie version of The Last Ronin will presumably take place in a different continuity than the more family-friendly animated series kicked off in last year’s highly acclaimed Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant MayhemThe Last Ronin is a much darker and grittier TMNT story than fans are used to, and the graphic novel was praised as a breath of fresh air. But the movie will struggle to copy the biggest surprise from the comic book.

TMNT: The Last Ronin Movie Will Struggle To Repeat The Comics’ Identity Reveal

At the beginning of The Last Ronin, it’s made clear that the titular ronin is the last surviving turtle, but it doesn’t reveal which turtle it is until midway through the story. The comic book builds to the reveal brilliantly, as it sets up his quest for revenge and the dystopian futuristic New York before he wakes up next to an older April O’Neil, who reveals who he is. Spoiler alert: it’s Michelangelo. It was easy for the comic book to hide this surprise, but it’ll be a lot tougher for the movie adaptation to conceal the ronin’s identity.

The comic book could preserve its big reveal, but The Last Ronin’s film adaptation won’t have that luxury. To market a movie and show audiences why they should watch it, the studio has to reveal a good portion of the footage. It’s impossible to make a trailer for a movie without a single shot of the title character. They could maybe hide him in silhouettes or over-the-shoulder shots in the first teaser, but the second trailer needs to show more. If they cast a recognizable voice actor (or someone who’s played Michelangelo before), that’ll make it harder to hide.

The Last Ronin Needs To Make Audiences Care About The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Again

Michelangelo against bloody backdrop in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles The Last Ronin
Custom Image by Grant Hermanns

Despite its universal critical acclaim and star-studded voice cast, Mutant Mayhem barely scraped by enough at the box office to get a sequel greenlit. Diehard TMNT fans will always be down for a new Turtles movie, but these big-budget features require the attention of casual viewers to turn a profit, and public interest in this franchise is sadly waning. It’s crucial for The Last Ronin to reinvigorate interest in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise – and not just for its own box office revenue; it needs the audience to invest in the characters for the story to land.

The impact of The Last Ronin’s storyline comes from the intense grief over the loss of the turtles. Their deaths are what lead the lone survivor to pursue vengeance, providing the motivation for the entire plot. The audience has to want the ronin to exact revenge as much as the ronin wants it for himself. Dedicated TMNT fans who read the comic were undoubtedly emotionally invested in the loss of the other turtles, but the movie needs to make casual audiences care, too. Like the comic book, the movie can use flashbacks to make that emotional connection.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin was published from 2020 to 2022.

The Last Ronin Is A Very Exciting Direction For The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Movies

TMNT: The Last Ronin - Re-Evolution's Odyn.

A live-action adaptation of The Last Ronin could be the best thing for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film series right now. While Mutant Mayhem was a great movie and has the TMNT franchise covered on the animated side of things, the franchise’s live-action efforts have suffered. Michael Bay’s live-action Ninja Turtles movies did okay at the box office, but they were poorly received by fans of the franchise. Before that, while the original 1990 TMNT movie was widely praised, its sequels were nowhere near as great.

The Last Ronin’s upcoming movie adaptation is a chance for the live-action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies to get back on track. A darker, R-rated Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie – sort of a Christopher Nolan-ization of the franchise – is a really cool prospect. The original comic run was massively popular amongst the fan base and the movie adaptation is a chance for that story to reach a wider audience.

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