The modern trend of big budget blockbusters taking on comic book characters and explaining their origins visits the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise.

TMNT film poster
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is released in America on August 8th

Controversy has dogged the new film before it’s even opened, with the Australian promotional posters being recently removed by studio Paramount ahead of its September 11 opening date there due to the image similiarities to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. But TMNT is coming to American cinemas imminently, and it will be up against the box office smash Guardians of the Galaxy for top spot.

Directed by Jonathan Liebesman and with action film stalwart Michael Bay assisting with production work, the film’s early reviews have been less than complimentary. The movie’s star Megan Fox has already lashed out at the film’s critics, telling those who’ve panned it and other Bay-influenced movies like Transformers: Age of Extinction to “f*** off”. Well, there are plenty of them.

MORE: Megan Fox warns that “Hollywood can tear you to pieces”

Alonso Duralde of The Wrap criticises the wildly uneven pacing and tone of TMNT, saying “a movie that takes its characters and its premise seriously, until it doesn't, and that operates at two speeds: tortoise (ponderous) and hare (head-spinning).” Germain Lussier of SlashFilm points out the serious lack of proper character development. They look good, according to him, but the film is hell-bent on setting up an overly complicated, way-too coincidental plot that never gives the Turtles a chance to breathe.

Drew McWeeny of Hitfix is somewhat kinder to TMNT, praising “a kinetic fighting style that makes the Turtles seem like they are actual physical threats to the bad guys” as well as its sense of fun. IGN emphasises that the core material and mythology surrounding TMNT has been changed so many times in the past that it’s somewhat redundant to claim that Liebesman and Bay are somehow ‘ruining it’. Their review says that the new film “isn’t great, nor is it a disaster. There have been better stories made about these characters… …but there also have been plenty of weaker ones.”

Watch the trailer for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles here