I’m the TMNT fan everyone loves to hate. I learned about the franchise from watching the cartoon when I was babysitting. I wrote a paper on the movies in college (for my Asian Encounters class–a Religion seminar. I know. Awesome.) I’ve never read even one issue of the comic. 

Nevertheless, I was psyched when I found out about the new movie. And I loved every second of it. I don’t know what the reviewers are talking about.

I love the new twist with April. I love Will Arnett as Vince. I love, love, love Tony Shalhoub as the voice of Splinter. The CGI is great. The new Shredder costume is great. The action is great, the teenage quirks are updated and great. The baby turtles in the back story are adorable. 

It was fun, too, to share this with the Kid. She knew nothing of the Turtles. When we were waiting for the movie to start, I told her, “The rat is good, the Shredder is bad. Michelangelo is the mischievous one. The rest you’ll figure out.” She enjoyed the movie and laughed in the right places, although I’m sure she was confused by my delight at some moments that were clearly thrown in for the enjoyment of old fans (no spoilers.) 

Also, I had forgotten what a lovely adoption story this is. Splinter has a beautiful line about why he decided to parent the Turtles, which I won’t spoil, but of course the power of the TMNT has always been their dedication to one another as brothers, and their love for Splinter and his for them. This inter-special adoptive family is the very center of the TMNT story. And there’s none of the typical adoption garbage in this story, either. The Turtles never look for their “real” parents. They don’t question what they really are because they were adopted. (Okay, they’re too busy questioning what they are because they’re mutant turtles.) One thing that is never questioned in the TMNT franchise is the realness of their family. Raphael questions whether it’s important to him, but he never suggests that Splinter isn’t really his father or the other Turtles aren’t really his brothers. (And it’s never established, as far as I know, that the Turtles are biological brothers.) 

So I’m still a fan, and I can’t wait for the next movie.