Review: Justice League vs Teen Titans

 Another day, another DC Universe film to review. Honestly these are some of my favorite things to review. I always love when these movies come out because they tend to cover storylines in the DC world that most likely won’t make it to the big screen, yet they work so well on the small screen. Today I’m covering the 25th installment, Justice Leage vs Teen Titans.

Before I begin, I need to clarify that this is not an extension or continuation of either the Justice League animated series or the original Teen Titans series. This continues the New 52 film universe that began with Justice League: War. So even though these are characters you are familiar with by name, these are different versions of them. 

 The story begins when Robin (Bruce Wayne’s son Damian) disobeys an order from Batman when the Justice League is fighting the Legion of Doom. Batman decides his son needs to learn what it is like working in a team and sends him to join the Teen Titans, a group of young superheroes consisting of Raven, Blue Beetle, Beast Boy and led by Starfire.  

 The bulk of the story focuses on Raven and her struggle to keep her father Trigon from freeing himself and wreaking havoc on the world. This conflict is used to highlight why Raven acts as she does and also to bring some development to Damian as he focuses on someone other than himself. It may not look like it but he has come a long way from his first appearance in Son of Batman. 

  

Since the story belongs to Raven and Robin, there isn’t much you get from the other Titans. Beast Boy and Blue Beetle don’t provide much. You can see that the film looks like it wants to do a bit more with Starfire and highlight her leadership capabilities, but the film is only 76 minutes so that sort of development would have to come in a later adventure.

The character animation feels smooth and is good looking in HD. The action is well drawn as well. The voice acting is fine. Nothing spectacular about it. I know I’m used to the voice from Teen Titans and Teen Titans Go, but that’s on me and my expectations not the fault of the film. It’s actually good they didn’t use those voices. It wouldn’t make this film any difference. 

 My only negative is that the film reaches its climax pretty quickly and as a result it hangs around it a little too long for my liking. I had to check the timer on my player to see how much time was left and there was still about 10 minutes left. Another thing I wished is that DC maybe take a break from these New 52 films and retool and give a little variation like the way these films used to. There also is a post credit scene that indicates that may not be the case, but I hope that if they are gonna make another film with the Titans, just give them the whole film. No Justice League. Just Teen Titans. 

This was an another enjoyably entry in the DC animated canon. A good story and some decent character focuses that move the story forward. If you like this film and are not familiar with the Teen Titans animated series, I highly recommend it. Particularly the 4th season which focuses on Raven and events similar to this film, but the whole series is great fun.


Final Rating (4/5) Good animation and story, but bogged down by a slightly dragging 3rd act. 

  

More DC Animation coverages at DeaconsDen:

Batman: Bad Blood
Justice League: Gods and Monsters

Young Justice

Batman v Superman: Deeper Insights

SPOILERS WILL BE DISCUSSED HERE

I decided to write a second piece on Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. After writing the review, (Which you can read here) I realized that I still had many things in my head regarding this film. As a person who enjoyed it, I wanted to get out my remaining thoughts on some of liberties taken with the two main characters. It certainly has been a point of discussion among film fans and comic fans. Even in writing this piece I am planning to see the movie a second time so I can get a better understanding of the events that occurred. I’m going to be talking about plot points from here on so this is your official spoiler warning. This whole piece will be a giant spoiler. If you have seen the film or just don’t care about spoilers read on past this picture of the Trinity.  

If you’re still interested, here we go.

I’m not here to “defend” Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. It does not need my protection. If it makes a a billion dollars or flopped with a box office total of $5, Warner Bros, DC Entertainment and Zack Snyder all have more money than I’ll ever have. This is not about shouting down the other side of the audience. This is not about proving critics right or wrong. This not about trying to change minds. This about experience. My experience with a film that I went in with expectations no higher nor lower than any other time I go to the movies. Yet when I left the theater after seeing a film that has been divisive to say the least, in a way I saw myself reflected back and in other ways saw the world reflected back at me. 

 Batman v Superman, has come out and appears to have caused a rift unlike any I have ever seen in my life as either a lover of cinema or a lover of comics. As each reviewed released further indicated the quality of the film, people took to the web and social media to voice their opinions. Some felt that this was innevitable. That the many questions about the production and over marketing left nothing to the imagination. Those who had questions and doubts about Zack Snyder’s continuing influence after the mixed reception to 2013’s Man of Steel. On the other hand you had people at another extreme. Those calling the whole thing and “Anti-DC, Anti-Snyder, Paid by Disney & Marvel Smear campaign.” It’s nothing new under the sun for audiences to disagree with critics And that was before people went to see it. Once the general audiences began to see it, multiple divides were created. You had those who like it and those who hate it. There are those who claim DC is better than Marvel and vice versa. Those who claim that they are “true fans” of Batman and/or Superman. In the midst of all this venom and vitriol going around on the Internet, stands myself. I’m a fan of both Bats and Supes. I love the MCU films and was eager for DC to finally begin theirs. As far as critic reviews goes, I know what I like in regards to blockbuster films so the negative reviews did not phase me. I walked in expecting to be entertained first and foremost and came out feeling that and more. 

 One of the most controversial decisions made for Batman v Superman (which I’ll abrieviate as BvS from here on) is the depiction of its title characters. Personally I never take issue with an interpretation of a character no matter how controversial. I sometimes wonder am I doing it wrong as a comic fan as I never really hold an ideal of the character in my head. 

Superman is uncertain of himself. He wonders is there a point to what he is doing. Should he do this? The world is split on him. He’s loved and he’s hated. He says Superman wasn’t his dream. He’s disillusioned and does not know of his place in the world and if what he is doing really matters. 

After years of fighting crime, Bruce Wayne is burnt out. He’s bitter and angry. Now he has come into contact with a being who has a power he couldn’t possibly imagine. Although his intentions are for the safety of the human race, Bruce is afraid for the first time since his parents murder. He is powerless, and in his mission to bring down The Superman combined with what he feels is the uselessness of his lifelong mission, sinks to the depths of the element he swore to protect citizens from.

I’ve felt the range of emotions both of these characters feel. Growing up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania I’ve seen and experienced things that question your role in society and your outlook on our society. When you are an introverted individual, an aggressive, bustling urban city can be overwhelming at times. I’ve felt this as a teen and sometimes even as an married adult. You don’t want to have a cynical view but sometimes it can not be helped. I fear at times I may never be the man I should be. 

 Then we get to the polarizing  climax of the film. The title fight. As Batman prepares to kill Superman with a Kryptonite spear, Superman pleads for him to Save Martha. Almost enraged, Batman demands to know where he heard that name. In comes Lois who tells him Martha is his mother. In that moment, Bruce Wayne realizes that he was about to fully become the monster he feared Kal-El was. This was a man who had a mother and people who love him. He only wanted to do what was best for the people. For Clark in that moment, he began what we all know Superman to be. The one who puts himself first. He did what was needed of him If he died, so be it. As long as Martha Kent was safe. Whether you thought it poignant like me or hamfisted and horribly handled, what it was was a moment. All it took was a moment to change the hearts of both men. 

I feel that although Bruce had the more visible transformation after that moment, it is Clark whose moment will change the world forever. By giving his life to protect Metropolis from Doomsday, he becomes that Superman that we wanted. That we will need. His doubts have subsided and he is truly The Man of Steel. 

My insecurities are part of my stumble, my hesitations and doubts a part of my fall. Yet in this world with so much darkness, we only need a moment. And that can begin to change everything.  

BvS is not the best movie I have ever seen. It is not even the best superhero movie I have ever seen. What it is to me however is special. Special for presenting the world as it is and through all of the bad, giving me a moment to see it will be alright. In a way, I feel I’m like those who did not like the movie. I was expecting to be entertained. I was, but I received more. I received that ideal I never held. I understand the disappointment the rest of the world has. That these are not the Batman and Superman they know. Yet for me, I got the Batman and Superman that I needed.

Also check out: 

 Second Chance – Man of Steel