Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem brings back the iconic pizza-loving New York mutant turtles on screen in a computer-animated format. The film presents a great threat to New York City in the form of the mutant villain Superfly, whom the ninja turtles must stop in time. Along with this, the film also has elements of the coming-of-age genre, as the teenage protagonists wish to step out into the outside world and mix with humans despite the latter repeatedly hating on them. Overall, Mutant Mayhem might not be the most thrilling superhero film of recent times, but it definitely provides an entertaining watch.
Plot Summary: What Is The Film About?
Mutant Mayhem begins in the middle of an operation conducted by private soldiers appointed by TCRI (Techno Cosmic Research Institute), in which they rush towards the laboratory of Dr. Baxter Stockman. Once the lead genetic scientist for the private company TCRI, Stockman has now gone rogue and has reportedly made a real mutant in his lab. It is to stop the man and the mutant that the soldiers reach the place, but the operation does not go as planned. Although Stockman is apprehended, the mysterious mutant cannot be found, and all of the scientist’s research is also lost in the ensuing gunfight. As the soldiers report to TCRI executive Cynthia Ultrom about this failure, she insists that any document related to the rogue scientist’s research on creating mutants must be brought back to her, for the institute wishes to replicate it. However, unbeknownst to any of the soldiers, a vial full of Stockman’s mutagen solution rolls down into the sewer and breaks, spilling the liquid.
Fifteen years later, the protagonists of the film finally emerge as Michelangelo, Leonardo, Raphael, and Donatello prepare for a night of adventure. Despite them sharpening their ninja skills, the task at hand ultimately turns out to be just fetching items from stores without letting humans know of their presence. The turtles’ father, Splinter, has strictly taught them not to go out openly into the human world or interact with any humans, for they would apparently always harm them. While Michelangelo is the most sincere and obedient of Splinter, his three brothers convince him to sneak out to watch a film at a public screening. It is this life, like other human teenagers, that the turtle brothers want to live, dreaming of attending high school and being accepted by humans someday. Around this same time, they also identify an opportunity to make themselves famous by stopping a mutant fly called Superfly from committing crimes all across New York City.
How Were The Ninja Turtles Formed?
While many viewers of the film would be too aware of the plot of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, owing to the popularity of the series both as comic books and as TV cartoons, Mutant Mayhem is mindful of new viewers as well. The film acts as a reboot of the series, as it delves into the formation of the turtles, along with countless references and mentions of the contemporary world. When Dr. Baxter Stockman created the mutagen solution, his intention was to create a mutant family of his own by using the mutagen on animals since he bonded more with animals than with humans. After the TCRI raid at his lab, one of the vials containing this mutagen was seen slipping into the drain. It was obviously this vial, which broke open inside the sewage tunnels, that led to the creation of all the mutants in the city. As Splinter narrates the story of fifteen years ago, he talks about how life was difficult for him as a rat. The creature was hated and attacked by everyone, mostly by humans, until he slipped into the sewer tunnels and found a sinister-looking green liquid all over the floor.
Amidst the pool of mutagen were four baby turtles, who were clearly orphans, and they immediately tried to befriend Splinter and saw him as their parent. Despite being cautious at first, Splinter instantly grew a bond with the turtles since they were the first living things to not be scared or aggressive towards him and instead approach him with love. The rat rescued the turtles from the sewer and brought them back to his home inside the tunnels, also getting the green mutagen on his hands in the process.
The mutagen started having its effect very quickly, and all five animals grew in size, strength, and intelligence. They became like humans, standing on their two hind legs, and also gained the ability to speak. Splinter started to raise the four turtles with love and care, but the brothers were already very interested and enthralled by the bright lights of the outside world, which they only saw through the drain covers. Upon their childish insistence and also encouraged by their interest, Splinter decided to take them up to the human world, despite knowing that humans hate animals and mutants. However, this trip was cut short when a human spotted Splinter and immediately freaked out, informing others of the mutants. People started to attack Splinter, who lost hold of the turtles in an effort to protect himself, and one of the brothers was even close to being hit by a cab. Finally, as Splinter managed to get hold of all four brothers and run back inside the sewers, he made a promise never to let the turtles get into similar trouble again.
After this incident, Splinter started to train the turtles in the ancient fighting skill of ninjutsu so that they could build their bodies as weapons to fight against aggressors. The mutant rat took help from various sources, including TV programs, Shaolin films, and YouTube videos, to train the turtles. When this phase was finally over, Michelangelo, Leonardo, Raphael, and Donatello became expert ninjas with brilliant fighting skills. Once grown up and allowed to sneak out into the human world, the brothers would often fight petty crime on the streets, and a similar incident takes place at present as well. During one of their nighttime adventures, the turtles accidentally hit a teenage girl named April O’Neil with a ninja star. As the girl complains about this, her moped gets stolen by a man, and so the turtles reach out to help. It is mostly Leonardo who wants to help April since he is instantly attracted to the girl, and he convinces his brothers to go rescue the moped. The plan works out, and once the goons have been taken down, April gets her moped back. She then also gets introduced to the turtles, but unlike other humans, April is not scared of the mutants. Instead, the girl listens to the brothers’ stories and then decides to write a news piece on them, for she is an aspiring journalist. It is now that the turtle brothers grow determined to bring down Superfly and get closer to humans in the process.
What Is Superfly’s Motive Behind The Attacks?
The same spilled mutagen that had turned the turtles and their rat father into mutants also had a similar effect on other animals. When Dr. Stockman first started his experiment, he used the antigen on a simple housefly to make it mutant. This was also the same mutant that TCRI had gotten to know about and wanted to apprehend, but they failed to do so during their raid. As the fly already had some supernatural qualities, like very fast speed and agility, it managed to escape the attack and get inside the sewage tunnels as well. There, it witnessed many other animals get in contact with the mutagen and transform into mutants, all of whom the fly took under his wing, metaphorically. This mutated housefly went on to become Superfly, a deadly villain who now conducts acts of terror and theft of TCRI instruments all over New York City. Superfly hires local human goons and gangs to do his work in exchange for money, and once their purpose is served, he kills them as well.
The reason behind Superfly’s attacks is revealed when the turtle brothers first meet and make acquaintance with him. Superfly, just like the turtles and Splinter, had also experienced similar aggression from the humans one night when he and the other mutants had gone into the human world only to have some fun. They were chased away by the humans, some of whom wanted to kill them as well, and this triggered Superfly into the villain that he now is. Deciding that mutants should take over the earth and bring out similar injustice against humans, Superfly was now building a special weapon that would turn every animal in the world into a mutant. The fly would then lead these mutants in a war against humans. The turtles obviously do not want to let this happen since their good friend April would also be hurt by it, and they now try to stop Superfly.
Beneath the action and comedy of Mutant Mayhem, it is also largely about questioning whose earth this actually is. The prejudice carried around by the humans in the film is definitely to be disapproved of, and it stems from the belief that those who do not look or behave in conventional ways should be pushed out of the world. Their hatred of the mutants of the city has different effects on the different animals, but it also makes for the most extreme reaction, which is Superfly’s villainous plan to fight back. While the oppression had been helplessly accepted by many, who remained in hiding and never came across the humans, it had turned Superfly into a brash aggressor who wanted to take revenge in a similar manner.
How Did The Turtles Save New York City From Superfly?
Once the main ideas in Mutant Mayhem had been established, it was quite clear that the only resolution to the crisis would come if humans and mutants worked together to protect themselves. The turtles manage to convince the other mutants that helping humans is the only way to get themselves loved and accepted and that violence is not the solution to their problem. Superfly, in the meantime, gets exposed to more of the mutagen and turns into a Godzilla-like creature with various mutated animals stuck all over his gigantic body. In this form, he attacks New York City, and as the turtles try to help the situation, they are shown as villains on the local news channels.
It is April who changes this situation, as she gets into the studio of a news network and then tells the world the truth about the turtles, the mutants, and Superfly, the only real villain in this whole situation. This reporting definitely helps, as it changes the perception of the humans about the mutants, and following this, a human comes to the aid of Splinter, who was carrying the anti-mutagen. This anti-mutagen needed to be fired into the weak point of Superfly’s body, and now all humans come together to help Splinter and the other mutants make this anti-mutagen reach the turtle brothers. During Mutant Mayhem‘s ending, as the anti-mutagen is fired, it immediately reverses the mutation of all the animals, including Superfly, and the turtle brothers are celebrated by humans. Together with the other mutants, their father, Splinter, and the helpful humans, the turtle brothers are able to save the city from Superfly.
The mutant turtles are now celebrated as heroes, as all news reporters also hail them as saviors. The teenagers soon get to live their dream life of being the same as human teenagers. They finally attend high school and become instantly popular because of their heroic acts earlier. The other mutants now move in at Splinter’s house, and they all continue to live together as a family.
What Happens In The Mid-Credits Scene?
As the mid-credits scene in Mutant Mayhem reveals, the turtle brothers would not have peace and quiet in life for long, as TCRI executive Cynthia Ultron asks for the supervillain Shredder to be appointed against the turtles. She is also seen in possession of the anti-mutated housefly that was once Superfly, meaning that TCRI has been studying the mutation process. It had been earlier revealed that the TCRI was essentially trying to create and use mutants as weapons, but the full extent of their evil plans remains to be seen in a possible sequel to Mutant Mayhem.