August 1, 2018

Teen Titans Go! To the Movies Review

Robin and co.

Movies about DC’s biggest superheroes, Superman and Batman, have not exactly showcased the brightest, cheeriest side of the spandex set. The Teen Titans—an actual comic-book team of younger heroes led by Batman’s sidekick, Robin, that first appeared in the 1960s and have been fighting supervillains in cartoon form since the early 2000s—are here to turn that angry Bat-frown into a Super-smile. The current animated incarnation revels in the sort of silly antics one expects in Bikini Bottom, not Gotham City. 

In their first big-screen adventure, team leader Robin (v. Scott Menville) really wants to be featured in a movie like real superheroes Batman (v. Jimmy Kimmel) and Superman (v. Nicolas Cage). Along with super-pals Raven (v. Tara Strong), Cyborg (v. Khary Payton), Beast Boy (v. Greg Cipes) and Starfire (v. Hynden Walch), Robin seeks a supervillain nemesis and finds one in Slade (v. Will Arnett), aka Deathstroke, who is up to no good while the bulk of DC’s superheroes are occupied with their movie debuts. It is a good thing no one wants to make that movie about Robin, because the Teen Titans are the only heroes left to stop Slade. 

Feature film adaptations of cartoons always risk coming off as supersized episodes or only appealing to their core audience. As popular as the Titans are on the small screen, the filmmakers broaden the feature’s appeal by effectively bringing in DC’s big guns without forgetting what heroes are the stars here. In a smart move stolen from the playbook of the original Muppets movie, Teen Titans Go! To the Movies features enough jokey references and cameos to keep the adults in the crowd laughing as hard as the kids. Think of this animated comedy as DC’s insolent superhero parody masquerading as a superhero movie—or, to put it another way, it’s Deadpool for kids!