For this review, I’m gonna try and remain relatively spoiler free, but if I fail that, This review will contain minor spoilers…
Justice League vs Teen Titans is the next in DC’s new line of animated movies, this being their third Justice League movie (Following War and Throne of Atlantis). However unlike the previous two, this movie follows its own unique storyline, and instead follows a mix and match version of the Teen Titans, which in itself separates it from previous offerings and ultimately makes this one of DC’s best new animated movies to date.
As a quick mandatory note, DC’s choice of animation, the close to realistic (For lack of better word) style is as sharp as ever, so no complaints there.
The story starts with the Justice League doing Justice league things, fighting the bad guys and whatnot, until one of them becomes possessed. When Robin saves the day the only way he knows how – by not consulting his team mates and putting everyone at risk. Batman fails to see the funny side, and believes Damian needs some help learning how to be on a team, so he is sent to spend time with the Teen Titans.
Personally, I’m quite the fan of this incarnation of the Teen Titans, perhaps because its nearly the exact team that’s in the old TV series – Robin (In this case Damian instead of Dick), Beast Boy (Looking like his Young Justice appearance), Raven, Starfire and Blue Beetle – Jaime Reyes, instead of Cyborg, again looking like he was pulled straight out of Young Justice, save for some changes to the scarab). Starfire instead plays a mentor/adult role to the team, which is an interesting twist, and her ties to the JL could lead to some cool things in the future. Blue Beetle and Beast Boy sadly get the least development out of any of the characters, which is a shame. Jaime seems more serious and reserved in this version, whereas Beast Boy seems to be more mature than his Young Justice counterpart, which is greatly appreciated.
Robin, naturally doesn’t get on well with the team, leading to a fight with Blue Beetle which ends badly. This allows him closer connection to Raven, the last teen titan, and the star of the show. If people have seen season 4 of the original show, they know what to expect here, however there are some obvious changes, such as the (Surprisingly natural feeling) appearance of the Justice League.
The fight between Robin and Blue Beetle causes Starfire to find solace in her boyfriend(?) Dick, which leads to a hilarious Skype call with Dick perving on a near naked Kori in typical Dick fashion. Although his appearance may seem forced, I personally love seeing him. I, and DC, can’t get enough Dick. Quote me.
The real heart of the movie comes after, when Starfire takes the titans to an amusement park/Carnival to ‘Have fun’. Here we see the team bond, and even better, enjoy themselves as kids, culminating in a fantastic dance off between Robin and Beast Boy. I may not like the choice of music or the frequency it was used in this act, but I cant fault the fun feeling atmosphere. This comes to and end when Raven is summoned by her father, and movie antagonist, Trigon – the one responsible for the possession of key characters.
Despite the name of the movie, the Justice League don’t actually play that large of a part. The whole team isn’t even there, Green Lantern and Shazam aren’t present, seemingly to give the titans a fighting chance. When the fight is about to break out between the two teams, it’s not for the reason you may believe, this quickly changes when Trigon (Raven’s demonic father) sends his forces to possess the league. Batman quickly excludes himself from the proceedings in a cool way, and Cyborg is brought about to help the Titans fight the possessed league.
I wont spoil the rest of what happens, but it’s nice to see a certain character not being shafted into the evil douchebag routine most writers have him in, and there’s a surprise appearance of a certain deceased character which will raise a few eyebrows, but all becomes clear soon enough.
Next I want to move onto some general good and bad points about the movie – The voice acting is still shoddy in some places, especially The Flash, the voice just doesn’t fit. Raven’s voice takes a little getting used to but it definitely builds on you. Batman is no Kevin Conroy, but he still sounds great. Jaime is another character who’s voice acting isn’t great, but for the amount of lines he actually has, its passable.
Something that really took me out of the movie (SPOILERS) was the Anime esque suiting up sequence after Starfire shouts ‘Titans, Go!’ (That itself would have been enough, the rest just seemed really out of place to me.
The writers also seemingly didn’t know what to do with Starfire’s trademark lack of English understanding. For the most part she speaks normally, but she didn’t seem to know “getting off on the wrong foot”, yet knew which poet/philosopher/Whatever Damian was quoting. Can’t have it both ways.
Ending on a high note, this movie is funny. There are laugh out loud moments, and there are moments of snarkier humour and inside jokes. There’s even some meta fourth wall breaking stuff (“Glasses”). All of it hits its mark.
Justice League vs Teen Titans is the best of DC’s animated offerings in a while sitting up there with Justice League: Gods and Monsters. It has action and it has heart, despite the few small issues. I sincerely hope DC consider adding the Teen Titans into its rotating film roster of Batman and Justice League, as I would love to see this team develop. Unless Young Justice Season 3 is just around the corner?
Final Score: 8/10