It Needs to Be Said: Raphael Is Just the Worst Turtle

Posted April 17, 2015 by Kaylie Woomer in Comic Books

With the Michael Bay take on our favorite molecularly-fried amphibians, the internet has opened the door to one of the most important aspects of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: who sucks most?FirstPic

Now I’m not going to get into a debate over who the best Turtle is, because thats a hard question and the answer is “three way tie where everyone hates Michaelangelo but gosh darn it he brings the levity, and thats IMPORTANT”. No, we’re going to talk about who the worst of the ninjutsu brothers is, because its easy and Raphael.


In this article we will be looking at why hes the worst turtle in the context of the 1990 masterpiece film. The argument holds true for any media because hes just the worst, but lets get into the nitty gritty of just how terrible he is in his first blockbuster outing. Obviously this means we will be discussing the plot pretty heavily, so spoiler warnings for a movie older than myself.SecondPic

The film sets the stage with April O’Neil getting attacked outside her news van, after she did a story talking about how everyones being attacked by news vans. Maybe she should have seen that coming. But either way, she’s rescued by four mysterious vigilantes, her only clue to their identities being a sai left behind during the scuffle.ThirdPic

We then cut to Raphael admitting to Splinter, after a grave speech about the importance of secrecy, that he dropped one of his sai. Yes, even though their entire tiny, green lives, they have been warned of how important it is they are never discovered, Raph cannot manage to keep track of one of his two weapons. He was in charge of two things, and lost one of them. If those sai were babies, he’d have them taken away. He then proceeds to ditch pizza night with his family, to wander around in public some more, because once again, Raphael doesn’t understand the concept of trying to remain low key. Its like he hasn’t HAD HIS ENTIRE LIFE TO PRACTICE.FourthPic

To the surprise of no one with pattern recognition, Raphael ends up tangled up in a situation with more humans, then loses his temper. Splinter then goes on to admonish him for his lack of control, just to really make it clear how much of an issue this is.


Raphael then saves April O’Neil, because he has to do something without messing it up in this film, unfortunately she is unconscious. Remembering just how crucial it is that no one learns of his existence, Raph takes her to a hospital, where he can drop her off anonymously and make sure she gets the aftercare she needs. Oh wait, no he doesn’t. He takes her back to his secret sewer hideout and introduces her to the rest of the gang. Of course. Uh oh! The Foot Clan followed Raphael back to his secret hideout, and now the only home he has ever known is destroyed and his only parental figure is presumed dead. Oops. Here is where the hero realizes that his selfish cavalier ways and bad temper have cost him all of the things he holds dear and put his family in immediate danger. Raphael chooses instead to get into a fight with his brother and leave. The results of that decision? A one-on-twenty fight with the Foot Clan that ends up crashing through April’s apartment (because Raphael is the literal incarnation of the phrase ‘homewrecker’) thats ends with him in a coma. Which is convenient for Raphael, because its hard to be forced to take responsibility for your actions while you’re in a stupid coma.FifthPic

At the end of the day, Casey helps save the day, Raphael wakes up, and Shredder is the closest to literally shredded a PG movie can get. The day is saved, but Raphael is still an asshole. The turtles are teenagers, and Raph seems to represent the moodiness and rage of a boy going through puberty. Which is widely considered the worst part of teenagers. Just like Raphael is the worst part of the ninja turtles.

About the Author

Kaylie Woomer