"kudos to Jonathan Liebesman and the creative team for bringing them into the 21st century"

Taking a beloved franchise from the 80s and updating it to modern day takes guts: there's a huge fan base and it is inevitable that there will be a difference of opinion. However, Jonathan Liebesman's latest film isn't the terrible mess that some claim it to be, while some are hellbent to hate on it because of its association with Michael Bay, which I think is unfair. A film should be critiqued on its own merits, not on the man behind it -- how much input would he have even had? Steven Spielberg has a producer credit on nearly everything made (slight exaggeration, but you see my point), but OK, with that out of the way, here we go...

We open in New York City where no time is wasted in setting up the story. The Foot Clan (whom I'll get to later) have a stranglehold over the city, and the terrified populous won't fight back and so out of the shadows come the mean, green fighting machines - the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

I was pleasantly surprised that they didn't dwell on setting up their reveal; it's fairly early on and, well, it's a Turtles movie, so why not?

The best thing about the film is the characterisation of the Turtles, they are exactly as you would imagine: Raphael (Alan Ritchson) is the hot head, he's always been the hot head and so he has his gruff mannerisms to go along with his outward appearance. He's huge; the biggest Turtle of the group -- in fact, all of the guys are huge, and I think it make sense for them to be these larger than life characters. Michelangelo (Noel Fisher) is hilarious, and whilst he definitely is the surfer dude type that we grew up watching (and even in the updated cartoon version on Nickelodeon) he has been reigned in somewhat, only uttering his iconic catchphrase 'Cowabunga' once. Donatello (Jeremy Howard) is the tech savvy member of the team, so he has a lot of gadgets on him, which does make sense. And Leonardo (Pete Ploszek and voiced by Johnny Knoxville) is the noble leader of the group. This is reflected in his and all of the Turtles' outward appearances, as well as how they speak and act. For example, they don't hold back when they hit a Foot Clan member and they go flying -- the Turtles are definitely mean, green, fighting machines!

Splinter (Danny Woodburn and voiced by Tony Shalhoub) is somewhat unkind, but by the end of the film you understand his motivations and why he has a tight grip on his students: he's an overprotective parent at the end of the day. Shredder (Tohoru Masamune) is mean, actually that's an understatement. He's pure evil, menacing and his armour, wow, I mean wow, I would not want to meet that down a dark ally, no way!

I've never really been a fan of the casting of Megan Fox as April O'Neil. That said, she's serviceable in this film, as the focus is on the Turtles and not the human story. However, they did tie their origins back to her, which worked for me and having her paired with Will Arnett's Vernon Fenwick worked. We don't spend too much time with them, which is fine, and the appearance from Whoopi Goldberg as Bernadette Thompson was cool, even if it was just a glorified cameo: it's nice to see a legend of cinema back on the big screen. William Fichtner's Eric Sacks was great, however, why wasn't his character Baxter Stockman? There is already a 'mad scientist type' in the Turtles canon, so why not bring him to the big screen?

The only thing that didn't really work for me was the Foot Clan -- why are they armed with guns? It's that old saying 'you don't bring a gun to a knife fight', except in this case it's a couple of Katanas and Sais (i.e., Leo's and Raph's weapons of choice). And thankfully they use them, unlike in the 90's sequel (Secret of the Ooze) where the Turtles used anything and everything but the weapons on their shells.

At just over an hour and a half, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles worked for me, and whilst I wasn't completely satisfied with the handling of the Foot Clan, I did think that this film was worth waiting for. I still don't fully understand or agree with the decision to hold the film for UK audiences until October (whilst America, the Czech Republic and Australia, to name but a few, got it before we did) but for me, as a fan of the Turtles, it was a good blend of what I grew up watching and the gritty, black and white comic book they came from.

The action is top notch, and this is the Turtles we have now. That's not meant to diminish what came before, either, but merely another adaptation of a beloved franchise, and kudos to Jonathan Liebesman and the creative team for bringing them into the 21st century.