Get ready, we’re gonna raise some shell!
With the release of a brand new live-action TMNT film, it’s clear that our favourite green, sewer-dwelling adolescent crime-fighters are as popular as ever. Aside from the brilliantly zany concept, and iconic catchphrases (cowabunga, anyone?), the four turtles are loved for their totally unique personalities. But which one turtle reigns supreme?
To find out, we’ve had a big ol’ nostalgia-fest, revisiting the gang from their comic book origins to their CGI revamps to rank them, from best to worst. So sit back, grab a slice of pizza and let the judging commence!
Let’s hear it for Raphael, undoubtedly the best turtle of them all! Why, you ask? Firstly, he’s a classic rebel, who questions authority—even that of the leader of the gang, Leonardo. In doing so, he keep the gang democratic and ensures that the eldest turtle doesn’t get too big for his boots.
Secondly, his sarcastic nature sets Raph apart from the rest. He’s constantly doling out zingers, especially to Michaelangelo. Here’s a couple of our faves:
Michaelangelo: Dinner? Now you’re talkin’ my language.
Raphael: What language is that Mikey? Nitwit?
Michaelangelo: I feel like I’m in an ugly convention.
Raphael: Then you must feel right at home.
Most importantly though, Raphael is complex. Underneath all the swagger, he’s fiercely loyal and protective over his brothers. He is affected more than any of the other turtles by the alienation that comes from being an outcast, which often manifests itself in his hot temper. So whilst he may seem the most brutish of the lot, he is also the most sensitive.
Not only does Dontello have the most stylish bandana (purple), he’s also the smartest of the gang. Privileging brains over brawn, Donnie’s faith in science and engineering as opposed to violence is especially refreshing.
His technobabble may get annoying at times, but he’s always be there to demodulate a cybernetic synopsis, and his thoughtful nature earns Donatello second place. Fun fact: he’s also co-creator Peter Laird's favorite Turtle.
Up next is the baby of the group, Michaelangelo. He’s rightly loved for his care-free and optimistic attitude—the jokester of the group. But whilst his innocence is cute and everything, it means he often relies on the older turtles to get him out of sticky situations. And although Mikey’s frequent pop culture references can be fun, they don’t age well, so revisiting older TMNT media can leave us scratching our heads!
He does, however, have the best weapon—and his fanatical love of pizza is something everyone can empathise with.
And bringing up the rear is Leonardo. Okay, so he may be the glue that holds the gang together, but that doesn’t necessarily make him the most compelling character. Leo’s unwavering commitment to ninjitsu means that the character often comes off as a bit of a goody two-shoes. We’d love to see him really cut loose.
Then again, without Leonardo to keep them in check, the other turtles would never have made it this far, so we can’t be too hard on him. If only he’d crack a joke more often...
Who’s your favourite turtle? How would you rank characters from your other fandoms? Let us know in the comments!