“Teen Titans Go! To the Movies” stars Scott Menville, Greg Cipes, Khary Payton, Tara Strong, Hynden Walch, Will Arnett, and Kristen Bell. Released on July 27, 2018, the film follows the Titans as they attempt to make their debut on the big screen.
The film is directed by Aaron Horvath and Peter Rida Michail, and it is based on the 2013 television series of the same name developed by Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic. No, you are not dreaming. This is the real thing. This is the official big-screen debut of the Teen Titans. Ok, so it’s not the Teen Titans film that most people wanted, but it has to count for something, right? For those who haven’t been watching television that much, “Teen Titans Go!” is the latest version of the Teen Titans that’s more of a comedic and kid-friendly take of the original Teen Titans animated show that came before it. While it wasn’t as beloved as the other DC animated shows from the past, it was proven to be a success for young kids. As a result, it spawned a total of five seasons and a theatrical film as of this writing, much to the dismay of the hard-core fans of the original Teen Titans show. Not only did I enjoy the original Teen Titans show back in my elementary school days, but I also didn’t mind the existence of “Teen Titans Go!” when it was first released five years ago. Sure, it was mind-numbing and childish for the older crowd, but it was one of those shows where I couldn’t help but laugh at the idiotic things that has happened to the characters and the environment. When I first found out about a “Teen Titans Go!” movie last September, I was both intrigued and concerned (mostly intrigued). On the one hand, I was interested in seeing how they’re going to expand the show’s concept into a 90-minute film. On the other hand, I was a bit worried that it’s going to get some unfair reviews from the fans of the original Teen Titans show. As a person who has followed the show for quite some time, I’m relying more heavily on the “intrigued” part because the trailers did a nice job at making me laugh as well as respecting the spirit of the show. Now that the Titans have finally made their way to the big screen, will it be able to satisfy plenty of young fans as well as some newcomers?
The story revolves around the Titans as they discover that Hollywood has been making every superhero film in existence. Determined to get their own movie made, Robin (Menville), Cyborg (Payton), Starfire (Walch), Raven (Strong), and Beast Boy (Cipes) travel to Hollywood to convince famous director, Jade Wilson (Bell), to do one about them. Unfortunately, she rejects their offer because, unsurprisingly, they haven’t done anything heroic throughout their entire show. Hoping to prove her wrong, the Titans decide to have their own arch nemesis because every superhero needs to have an arch nemesis. Enter Slade (Arnett), a super villain who plots to take over the world by placing everyone under his control. When their two plans clash with one another, the Titans must find a way to save humanity from Slade’s wrath, without screwing up, of course. If you’re lucky enough to watch the show, you should already know what you’re going to get from this film. From its kooky 2D animation to its wacky jokes (mostly the ones involving DC and the film industry), the film has the right ingredients to fully capture the zaniness of the source material, for better or for worse. However, unlike the show, the film has a surprising mixture of storytelling and comedy that’ll attract kids and adults who grew up with DC. To put it more briefly, this is exactly what I was expecting from a “Teen Titans Go!” movie and a family-friendly motion picture. Similar to the other film adaptations of the kid-friendly cartoons, the main voice actors from the “Teen Titans Go!” show reprised their respective roles, such as Menville as Robin and Cipes as Beast Boy, and they once again did a terrific job bringing these characters to life. Yes, they were portrayed exactly as they were in the show, but the people behind the film never forgot to make them worth caring for as well, which makes the film much more easier for the adults to watch. My personal highlight has to be Will Arnett as Slade. Out of all of the characters he voiced, his role in “Teen Titans Go!” has to be my second favorite behind Lego Batman. He really put a nice comedic spin on the Titans’ arch nemesis from the original show without going overboard with the humor. Speaking of which, the humor always serves as the main piece that holds the source material together, and in this film, they really went all out with it by poking fun at the superhero genre, Marvel, the film industry, and the Titans themselves, with an occasional butt-related joke or two. As usual, it won’t win everybody over, including the hard-core fans of the original Teen Titans animated show, but to me, it’s the type of humor that works well with its concept. I can not tell you how much I laughed so hard at some of the shenanigans that the characters went through. Of course, the humor is not the only thing that held this movie together. It was how the filmmakers handled the plot that made it worth watching in the midst of its mindless, light-hearted jokes. Despite its predictable moments, especially the third act, the film has a pretty affecting narrative that delivers its relatable messages about friendship and being true to yourself. In fact, I would even say that the themes in “Teen Titans Go!” were handled better than “The Emoji Movie”, which also has a message about being true to yourself. Oh yeah, I totally went there. The animation doesn’t offer anything too special or groundbreaking, either, but it did its part in portraying the film’s colorful 2D world, visual gags, action sequences, and musical numbers. Yes, the film has a couple of musical numbers that made some impressive uses of animation. Not great, but fun to listen to.
Overall, “Teen Titans Go! To the Movies” is the most light-hearted and hilarious DC film I’ve seen since “The Lego Batman Movie”. From its fun-loving characters to its simple and relatable plot, the Titans’ big-screen debut is a blast of colorful fun that’ll win over young fans of the show and a bunch of adults who grew up with DC. As for the fans of the original Teen Titans show, well, that’s a big question mark for me. Keep in mind that I’m not a huge super fan of the “Teen Titans Go!” show. I only reviewed it as its own film, and for what it’s worth, I had a lot of fun watching it. It’s not going to compete with the likes of “Incredibles 2” in terms of quality, but for those who wanted a harmless full-length superhero cartoon, this is a suitable recommendation. As for the people who are mindlessly bashing the film without even seeing it, at least give it a chance first before you make your final judgement. If you still don’t like it afterwards, that’s completely fine because as always, not every film is made for everyone, especially this one. This is another film that shows that even the world of DC can have fun with itself, too, just like everybody else. Titans, GO!