By now, 2 years into this shared universe Warner animation and DC Comics has set up, the quality of each straight to home video release has been consistent with its level of quality that has been established with Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox. Justice League vs. Teen Titans continues the highest level of quality that has become expected of this ever-expanding universe. Unlike the films that came before Justice League vs. Teen Titans isn’t based on a comic story arch or previously released material. Screenwriters Brian Q. Miller and Alan Burnett have the advantage of telling a unique story that fits the personality and captures the true spirit of each superhero team.
The Justice League has made their presence known over the previous 6 films so in being more familiar with them, the focus can be placed more on the Teen Titans who many might not be familiar with unless you’ve spent your childhood watching Saturday morning cartoons. The Titans consist of Robin (Stuart Allen), Starfire (Kari Wahlgren), Raven (Taissa Farmiga), Beast Boy (Brandon Soo Hoo) and Blue Beetle (Jake Austin). Even if mainstream fans may not know the Titans on the personal level as say the Justice League, that doesn’t mean the Titans aren’t a formidable group of heroes.
The Titans are able to carry their own weight given that they are sharing screen time with the greatest superhero team ever assembled. It’s not a lot of screen time shared but regardless, if the Justice League made no appearance in this story the outcome would still be the same.
Whats puzzling to me about Justice League vs. Teen Titans is the choice behind the title. There’s maybe a brief moment the two groups go head-to-head but for the third act, when the action kicks back up, the teams are working together. It’s a bit misleading having the events play out and realizing the two are not involved in a blood bath. The only ones really at odds with each other are Batman (Jason O’Mara) and Damian, which we should all be used to by now. Damian is still Damian – the arrogant assassin who’s one bad day from losing control and turning into a supervillain. At least while he’s with the Titan’s he learns to be a better hero and actually work as a team player. Something Bruce has failed to teach Damian time and time again, no matter how hard Bruce tried he was never going to break down Damian’s walls with the tough guy act.
The universe set up by DC and Warner has leaned on the scale of being more mature and adult in its themes. Historically – the Titans shows were more geared toward a younger audience, but they fit right into this universe keeping the consistency level the same.
One thing that DC and Warner have gotten right over the past 6 films is the voice cast. From top to bottom, the voice cast is full of talent. Rosario Dawson, Christopher Gorham, Jerry O’Connell & Shemar Moore all reprise their roles as Wonder Woman, the Flash, Superman, & Cyborg respectively. Even with a shorter but consistent runtime each character has a moment to stand out and have some development added to their character. More so for the Titans than the Justice League. This is a Titan’s movie, and the star is Raven. Her backstory is so unique with how she came to be with her journey through various dimensions. Her father Trigon (John Bernthal) being one of the most powerful beings in the universe makes for a difficult battle for her and entertaining for the viewer.
This keeps in line with the family theme – how Raven and Damian struggle to find their own identity and not be in their father’s shadow.
Justice League vs. Teen Titans is all about the characters relationships with one another. One of the most unexpected surprises comes between Damian and Raven and how their relationship blossoms over the 79-minute runtime. These characters are able to work so well together because of the commonality in their struggles with their fathers. As much as this story focuses on Raven, Damian’s arch that started in Son of Batman continues. As a character, his growth cannot go unnoticed, and he should no longer be looked at as a one-dimensional character. The “Batman” trilogy is really a Damian trilogy, and the screenwriters are treating Damian as the heart and soul of this universe. Maybe the thanks should go to the animation since in any live action film that includes Batman, the focus will always be Batman.
Having the universe be animated, lesser-known characters have their moment in the spotlight that normally wouldn’t be the case in live action. Justice League vs. Teen Titans is the perfect example of that. This allows new characters to be introduced and therefore cast a wider net for people to discover. I for one have never come across Blue Beetle or Beast Boy (the Titans shows never caught my attention) but now they are character’s to get excited about and hope to see more of them in the future – live action or animated.
So, tell me, have you seen Justice League vs. Teen Titans and if so, what do you think about it? Do you agree or disagree with me? Comment below or send me an email and let me know what you think.
Justice League vs. Teen Titans is written by Bryan Q. Miller and Alan Burnett, directed by Sam Liu is Rated PG-13 and has an 80% on Rotten Tomatoes. Justice League vs. Teen Titans was released on March 29, 2016 and has a runtime of 1 hour and 19 minutes. Justice League vs. Teen Titans can be streamed on HBO Max. 3 out of 5.