Cult Movies

Review: Teen Titans Go To the Movies (2018)

I am a hardcore DC fan and I will usually watch just about anything DC related whether it be cartoon or live action. As a child I loved all of the DC animated series, but by far my favourite as a child was the original Teen Titans series. The original series had heart, humour, action and was just excellent all round. I didn’t realise it had been cancelled as a child as they just kept reruns going and I was happy enough to keep watching them as I didn’t think we could get another Teen Titans series. This may all sound like too much boring backstory but don’t worry I do have a point. When Teen Titans Go premiered on our TV screens I was initially furious as in my mind the original Teen Titans had lost out to get this kiddified unintelligent garbage and even without watching it I hated it blindly. That is, until I stumbled upon an episode not too long ago and decided to keep watching. What I found was that this series was hilarious, and perhaps darker than the original series albeit being better at disguising it. I had hated something I hadn’t even seen based purely on my nostalgia for its predecessor without even giving a thought as to if this series could be good. I decided to see the big screen adaptation the day it came out, and I must say I loved Teen Titans Go To The Movies.

This film again had heart and humour, and some of the jokes went way over the child audiences heads, and this is very much a film for older fans as well. The story is a satire of the modern superhero film industry, with the Titans needing to have a film of them in order to be taken seriously by the rest of the superhero community. They try several methods, including going back in time and messing with history to try and make their film a reality. This montage includes them putting pearls on Martha Wayne and pushing her into crime alley to her death so Batman is created, and dropping a plastic six pack ring onto Aquaman’s neck to kill him as a baby, something which the child audience probably just laughed at not fully grasping the darkness of the joke!

The message of the story that superheroes aren’t taken seriously until they have a big screen adaptation is important in the comics world as it is currently, with many non-film characters suffering at the expense of more well known characters, and characters appearing in the films having far better sales regardless of writing or art. This practice is incredibly harmful to the comics market, as it teaches publishers to focus on their most well known characters leading to an eventual downgrade in quality. The satirization of this is excellent, and it also humanises the Titans considerably, building their characters beyond the simple fact enthusiasts they are in the series proper. There are still childish elements but they go a long way to making the Titans actually good protagonists.

As a more mature DC fan, I could have had as much fun spotting the little Easter eggs peppered throughout the scenes as I did watching the plot unfold. Signs referencing the New Gods of Apokolips and Watchmen are found throughout, references that the child audiences likely won’t get. The Titans also do an extended Back To The Future homage, complete with Huey Lewis and alternate timestreams to boot.

While I wasn’t initially sold on Teen Titans Go I can now confidently say that I love both the show and the film, and even as a fan of regular DC content I am able to enjoy a more lighthearted slice of the DC multiverse. The mid credits scene that confirms the original incarnation of the Titans returning was also brilliant, and set up the series return perfectly.

VERDICT: Overall, I would give Teen Titans Go To The Movies a 9/10 for being a fun, intelligent and light hearted film that isn’t afraid to stray into the darker side of things, albeit with subtlety.

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