Stars (the voices of): Rosario Dawson, Christopher Gorham, Shemar Moore, Jerry O’Connell, Jason O’Mara, Stuart Allan, Jake T. Austin, Taissa Farmiga, Sean Maher, Brandon Soo Hoo, Kari Wahlgren, Laura Bailey, Jon Bernthal, Terrence ‘T.C.’ Carson, Rick D. Wasserman | Written by Bryan Q. Miller, Alan Burnett | Directed by Sam Liu
Robin is forced to join the young super team and soon has to help lead them in a fight against the mighty Justice League, who have been possessed by the demonic forces of Raven‘s Father, Trigon. Okay, so we have yet another DC Universe Animated Original Movie rolling off the production line at Warner Bros. Animation. Have they learnt to up their game (without Bruce Timm, who is working on Batman: The Killing Joke) and recapture their glory days that seem like a distant memory right now?
And to answer that question…..no, not yet.
For what we get with Justice League vs. Teen Titans is yet another bare-bones, basic and bland animated movie, which also happens to be released within a couple of days of the release of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (which I personally thought was excellent) and so comes off as an example of not so subtle marketing. With a title like Justice League vs. Teen Titans, one would think that we were going to get a big battle between the adult Heroes and their more younger, would-be successors. But no we don’t, as even though the Justice League has top billing, they are barely in the movie, which is focused on the Titans for the majority of this feature.
Now I don’t have a problem with that latter, since we have been waiting for a Teen Titans movie since an adaptation of ‘The Judas Contract’ was announced back in 2006, only to be put on hold and then cancelled all together later on. But did we really need to put them in a film with the Justice League, considering that the Teen Titans had a very successful five season series of the same name from 2003 to 2006 and are currently still in the spot light with the (made for kids… clearly) ‘Teen Titans Go!’
But after watching the film, all it made we want, was another film with the cast of the that original series (they already had one movie with Teen Titans: Trouble in Tokyo) since like I said at the start of this review, everything about this was basic and bland, from the voice acting (I really missed not hearing Tara Strong as Raven) to their designs (why does Starfire’s fringe look like a pair of flopped forward Dog Ears?). And it didn’t help that our introduction to them is through the eyes of everyone’s non-favourite Robin (in these films at least) – Damian Wayne. Now I say that because in the comics (starting with Batman and Robin in the New 52 back in 2011), the Son of Bruce Wayne and Talia Al-Ghul acted exactly as these DCAMU movies have shown us.
But the big difference between the comics and the movies is that in the former, the newest Robin had character growth throughout his run in series like ‘Batman and Robin’ and ‘Batman Incorporated’, showing that he does learn from his mistakes and is no longer the annoying and entitled brat he was at the start (…well no longer annoying or a Brat, I think). But in these films, he is always the same, never really changing and that is a problem with the DCAMU in general.
Now as I said previously, the Justice League are barely in this film and there is no big fight between the two sides. It is more like ‘Teen Titans vs. various Members of the Justice League (for example – the Titans fighting against Wonder Woman, Flash and Cyborg), the League is never fully together when they combat the younger Heroes (which goes to show that the title of this film is misleading).
Also the way they took out Batman was hilariously bad, because when the group are being taken over by Trigon’s demonic spirits (no real spoilers here, since this part has been shown in the trailers and clips), the Dark Knight injects himself with something that knocks him out for the majority of the movie. I mean seriously? That is the best the writers could do to make sure that Batman did not take the spotlight from everyone else (while Bruce Timm has always been excellent at giving each and every member of the Justice League and the Teen Titans their moments to shine, even when Batman was around).
And there is a really flimsily written sequence near the end where a character close to Damian makes an appearance (which was only put into the film to make sure that Robin stood equal to Raven, though this should have been her film really – since they are basically remaking The Terror of Trigon storyline here), so a terribly written piece of dialogue is put in place that flies in the face of the history of said character.
Over all, the action, the story (which again, the original Teen Titans series did a far superior job at adapting during it‘s fourth season), the animation and the voice work is all just bad to okay in this very bland and uninspired animated movie. My advice would be to skip this film and wait for the Summer when Batman: The Killing Joke is released or watch one (again) of the many classics that DC brought out before they started making these ‘New-52‘-like adaptations.