For the past ten years Warner Bros and DC Comics have been doing a series of straight-to-DVD animated movies. With mixed results. A lot of the output has been outstanding, but some have fallen a little flat. The Batman, Superman, and Justice League titles have all sold well.
But, DC have never really had much confidence with Teen Titans. Their range of films were put on hold, then quickly cancelled.
The film is titled ‘Justice League vs Teen Titans’ but don’t let that fool you, it’s actually Teen Titans featuring a couple of possessed members of the Justice League.
It’s set in the same continuity as Justice League: War and Son of Batman. And picks up right where the latter left off, introducing Damian Wayne (Sturat Allen), the young son that Bruce Wayne (Jason O’Mara) never knew he had.
The film also cherry picks Teen Titans greatest hits. There’s elements from the comics history, thrown in with moments from the two animated TV shows, which ran from 2003-2006.
The Robin in this adventure is Damian Wayne. Whilst assisting his dad and the justice league, he disobeys a direct order and almost ruins the entire mission.
Batman decides to ship Damian off to train with the Teen Titans. Reluctantly, Damian agrees and Nightwing takes him to Titans Tower. Where he meets his new team mates; Starfire, Beast Boy, Blue beetle, and Raven.
It turns out that Raven (Taissa Farmiga) is the daughter of a huge Satanic-like creature named Trigon (Jon Bernthal), whom is not only intent on reclaiming her, but on also enslaving mankind. He omits an ooze, which renders the Justice League under his control. This is where the ‘vs’ comes in, Damian has to put aside his problems with the other Titans and work together to take down Trigon and, the possessed League.
The film is directed by Sam Liu and written by Bryan Q. Miller and Alan Burnett. It manages to balance humour, whilst keeping the threat ever present. Which is something the other vs movie has been critiqued for not doing. It isn’t all perfect, there’s a pointless musical montage that goes on for far too long, whilst the Titans are “bonding”. It also managed to balance some adult themes, that kids won’t get. Dick Grayson very clearly expects to have Skype-sex with Starfire.
The fights are incredibly well-done and entertaining, but much like the other ‘vs’ movie, there’s a lot of style over substance. But I eagerly await the next Titan adventure.
Justice league vs Teen titans is out on Blu-Ray on the 30th of May