Ninja Turtles or Copy Cats?

I grew up on the Ninja Turtles and I passed that enthusiasm on to my younger brother and my kids. I actually reckon I’m like a composite turtle, composed of contrasting traits of patience, rage, intelligence and immaturity. Generally speaking, however, when we talk TMNT in my house my wife is the leader (Leonardo), my daughter is the clever one (Donatello), my son is cheeky (Michaelangelo) and I’m the angry one (Raphael).


There’s a cool video (that I may have shared before) that unpacks the personalities of the turtles and links them to the four elements/humors.


That’s not what this post is about though; it’s about how the TMNT franchise has been ripping off other intellectual properties for years.


For those that don’t know, when Eastman and Laird created this mean, green ninja team they were heavily influenced by a number of successful comics but none more so than Daredevil. The most obvious way this is shown is through the fact that the radioactive canister that made Daredevil blind is LITERALLY the same one that turned the turtles into the mutants we know and love. More subtly, the trainers (Splinter vs Stick) and enemies (the Foot Clan vs the Hand) are clearly derivative of the Daredevil comics. This isn’t anything new.


The recent Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle movie drew a lot of criticism from various fans but I thought it was a laugh riot (as opposed to laughable). That said, the HISHE video for the film presents it as a repackaged Spider-Man.


With the sequel to be released soon, it’s hard not to look at the trailer and draw comparisons between it and recent films. Roughly 25 seconds into the preview and we’re looking at an Avengers styled invasion, then skip past the Frankenstein-like transformation of Bebop and Rocksteady to the 1:15 mark and you’ll find the plot of the third X-Men film, The Last Stand.


And, do you know what? I don’t care. As an English teacher I’m analysing texts all the time so when I go to the cinema I like to turn my brain off and scoff popcorn for the duration of the film. TMNT 2 is right up my alley; I can’t wait.

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