By Jeandra Lebeauf
This review does contain spoilers for the film.
Just when you thought Hollywood had run out of superhero movies to release this summer, Warner Bros. Animation ushers in its own tale of heroics mixed with belly laughs. Its latest release Teen Titans Go! to the Movies takes a popular and cheeky children’s television show and unleashes them onto the big screen. We got a chance to screen the film and found it full of fun for the whole family.
After rapping their way through a montage, which serves as an intro to reacquaint viewers with the main characters, the film gets underway with the Titans participating in one of their favorite past times, hanging out on the couch.
Long-time Batman sidekick Robin has a moment of self-reflection where he realizes that he is completely frustrated and fed up. Why? Fed up about the lack of respect he is receiving from the hero universe. The only way he can escape his sub-super hero status is by having his own superhero movie. So, with that plan in mind Robin convinces his fellow Titans Cyborg (Khary Payton), Starfire (Hynden Walch), Raven (Tara Strong) and Beast Boy (Greg Cipes) to travel with him to Hollywood and pitch ideas that will land his very own feature film (with the Titans as co-stars of course). They can finally join the ranks of their super peers and fully get the respect they deserve. No matter what it takes.
After a series of events, the Titans reach Hollywood where they connect with big-time director Jade Wilson (played by Kristen Bell). Briefly working with the disorganized, clumsy Titans, Wilson unapologetically tells the crew what’s really holding them back is not the lack of feature film but their childish antics, and their inability to take anything seriously. Not to mention there is no room in the industry (because there are so many other more important films like the one about Batman’s toolbelt and his butler Alfred). The Titans just aren’t big enough and important enough to justify having their own movie.
Disappointed, but unwilling to give up hope and dreams of being respected in the superhero world, the Titans conclude that need a nemesis in order to make their movie a reality. Who better to step into that role other than long-time nemesis Slade (Will Arnett) who’s one problem in life is being fed up with people a mistaking him for Deadpool.
The kids will love as they say over and over, “Slaaaaaaaaaaaaaaade.”
In route to the finale, the Titans find themselves in an action-filled showdown and brow-raising revelations that long-time lovers of comic books will enjoy. Among the funnier gags in the movie is Nicholas Cage acting as the voice of Superman. It’s a nod to the character he was once earmarked to play under the direction of Tim Burton (Superman Lives)
What makes Teen Titans Go! To the Movies succeed is the fact that it doesn’t take itself too seriously. One minute the joke is on Marvel Studios, the next minute the Titans and their supporting cast are taking shots at the long list of DC Movies that didn’t resonate as well with audiences.
The writers do an excellent job of replacing those awkward pauses that happen in an adult super movie when a joke may be a bit mature for some audiences with fart jokes for the children. Meanwhile, parents will enjoy the on-going troll-fest of all the hero films–past and present–and the people who think they are only for their kids. Khary Payton spoke to BGN about the jokes and how some of them almost didn’t make it into the movie. His interview is available here.
With the absence of violence or subliminal adult gags, the motley crew of superhero-ish kids who just want to be accepted like their adult counterparts and memorialized on film is a hilarious ride to closing credits.
Not to mention there’s a Stan Lee cameo. What’s a superhero movie without Stan Lee for goodness sake. Yes, I know Stan is not a DC man–that’s what makes his appearance more surprising.
Writers Michael Jelenic and Aaron Horvath, who also serve as the TV version’s showrunners do an excellent job of weaving together a storyline. They ultimately create a legitimate film instead of a bunch of episodes that ended up on the cutting room floor, sewn together on a reel.
Joining the cast are Jimmy Kimmel as Batman, Halsey as Wonder Woman, Lil Yachty as Green Lantern, Wil Wheaton as Flash, and Patton Oswalt as Atom.
Teen Titans Go! To the Movies is in theaters on July 27.