When there’s trouble, you know who to call… anyone but the Teen Titans, because they are a joke. At least, according to everyone else around them anyway.
Before we get into the nitty and gritty of the latest animated movie to come out of the DC Universe, we would like to preface this by saying that Teen Titans Go! To The Movie (TTGTTM) does not even come close to the Teen Titans cartoon that ran from 2003 to 2006. (We know, it’s like saying the latest Batfleck movies do not even come close to the Bruce Timm and Paul Dini Batman cartoons….)
But if you love the recent Teen Titans Go! Series, or fun kids’ movies that like to make jokes that’ll go above most kids’ heads, you’ll love this outing.
The movie opens as a giant monster goes on a rampage in Jump City. But it’s not just any monster. Sticking to the silliness of the recent TV series, our giant monster is… made out of balloons. Imagine the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, but made out of pink balloons. This is Balloon Man.
Yeah. This is the kind of stupidly funny movie you’ll be watching. Hey, if Batman gets a Kite Man, the Titans get a Balloon Man…
One thing you must know, if you are not a fan of the TV series, and before you step into the theatre, is that Teen Titans Go! is an extremely self-aware property. It’s self-referential, and knows it is just a silly, stupid cartoon with zero stakes. The critique of the show in real life becomes the critique of the other superheroes in the movie.
The Teen Titans, comprising Robin (Scott Menville), Starfire (Hynden Walch), Raven (Tara Strong), Beast Boy (Greg Cypes) and Cyborg (Khary Payton), are still a bunch of kids that make fart jokes and throw waffles around. That’s why they don’t have their own movies like Superman (Nicolas Cage), Batman (Jimmy Fallon), Wonder Woman (Halsey), and Green Lantern (Lil Yachty). (Even though John Stewart really wants you to forget that a Green Lantern movie ever existed.)
No superhero movie is complete without a villain, and TTGTTM brings back Teen Titans’ greatest villain, Slade (Will Arnett). Slade has not made a lot of appearances in the Teen Titans Go! series, just a cameo here and there, so to see him back fighting the Titans again, is pleasant to say the least. Another important character is Hollywood’s Superhero Movie Director, Jade Wilson (Kristen Bell). Remember that name as it will be very important later.
There are plenty of jokes and references all around, whether they are visual gags or corny wordplay, and there’s something for everyone. It also helps if you are a fan of the TV series, as it references the show, a lot. For instance, there are loads of mentions of Robin’s baby hands. Want to know where that came from and why it keeps coming up? Watch the series and find out for yourself!
TTGTTM also packs plentiful cameos, from Stan Lee appearing as himself, to a delightful split-second appearance by Animal of Muppets fame. Watching the starting scene in the beginning was like playing a game of Spot the Superhero.
If a character made it onto a page of DC Comics, it is very likely that they will be amongst the crowd. Shoutout to a poster that shows Batman v Superman but instead of an angsty movie about Batman fighting Superman, it is a buddy movie with Batgirl and Supergirl. Can we make that a real movie please?
The plot of the movie is not super complicated. (Get it? Super?) Having been passed over for the subject of the next superhero movie in favour of an Alfred movie, Robin is determined to prove himself so he can have his own movie. Did he say ‘he’? He meant them, the Teen Titans, of course. He’s not self-absorbed at all.
The story unfolds pretty typically. The Titans fight Slade as they try to get a movie about them made. Lots of explosions happen. There’s a not-so-surprising twist at the end involving the director that may or may not ruin the movie, depending on how you feel about plot twists. Remember, her name is Jade Wilson. If you know your DC Comics trivia, then you know exactly what I’m talking about.
Speaking of Jade Wilson, the voice acting in the movie was terrific, apart from some of the smaller roles. (Halsey, you’re great, but you didn’t really bring anything new to Wonder Woman.) The Titans, voiced by the original voice cast of 2003 Teen Titans, are fantastic as always. Will Arnett was great as Slade, being able to switch from a very sinister, villainous Slade, to a silly one that’s trying to convince Robin that there’s something on his shirt. Veronica Mars herself Kristen Bell is now a household name because of her role in probably the biggest Disney princess movie ever, Frozen, but Jade Wilson sounds nothing like Anna. There’s no sweet, innocent princess in there, just a director that will do what she needs to get what she wants.
And apparently, this includes singing. There are a few songs interspersed throughout the movie, sung by the cast, mostly originally written. One of the exceptions is Take On Me by A-ha because yes, this is that kind of movie. My Superhero Movie is a personal favourite, because it encompasses what the movie and series is like, goofy and over the top. Also, it has a really nice bop to it. Thankfully, the fun continues after the movie with the soundtrack being on Spotify.
Now, it’s not a kids’ movie if there isn’t a lesson to learn at the end. But how often do you get the characters themselves to address it, and bore you to tears with it? Parents, be aware that after this, your kids might start asking questions that you might not be prepared to answer just yet.
As with all superhero movies of late, there are mid-credit and after-credits scenes to stay for, where you might just see some old, familiar faces. Is it a tease for something more, or just a plain old, really mean, tease? We don’t know just yet, but we’re excited to find out.
Whether you’re a big fan of the original cartoon series, the new one, or have never even watched any of the series, TTGTTM is a solid, funny movie to watch if you love a nice, light, comedic cartoon. Kids will enjoy the flashy fight scenes, the colorful costumes, and silly fart jokes, and the adults will enjoy the cameos and the references to things that some kids will be too young to know about. Bring your kids along (if you have them) but again, just be prepared for that question at the end…
GEEK REVIEW SCORE
Every legit superhero needs their own movie, so why not the Teen Titans? Watch the Teen Titans beat some bad guys while singing a song in this hilarious kids’ movie.
Story - 7/10
Presentation - 8/10
Characterisation - 8.5/10
Geek Satisfaction - 9/10