Review: Justice League vs. Teen Titans Is One of DC Animation’s Finest Accomplishments

Saturday, 26 March 2016 - 8:01PM
DC Comics
Saturday, 26 March 2016 - 8:01PM
Review: Justice League vs. Teen Titans Is One of DC Animation’s Finest Accomplishments
The world premiere for DC Animation's latest direct-to-DVD movie, Justice League vs. Teen Titans, was held at WonderCon today, and it definitely didn't disappoint. DC is well known for their beautiful animated films, many of which are adaptations of certain comics and graphic novels that have proven popular (i.e. The Dark Knight Returns, Batman: Year One, and Under the Red Hood). However, DC has been focusing on building an animated universe for some time now, and though they do take inspiration from certain comics, they essentially tell their own stories.

Justice League vs. Teen Titans is the latest addition to this universe, and it's also potentially the best addition to this new, animated world so far. It was a ton of fun and had a lot of action. It was also somewhat nostalgic to see the Teen Titans from the original animated TV series back on screen together in a semi-serious form (a category which Teen Titans Go obviously doesn't fall under). It's flaws are relatively small, and if you can handle the fact that the voice actors will never be the same as those from the Bruce Timm and the Cartoon Network Teen Titans era, there was little not to like it about.  

The film begins with the Justice League fighting the Legion of Doom and Damian Wayne basically playing sheep herder for evacuees. However, things go sour when a demon (who fans know as Trigon) possesses the Weather Wizard. Damian solves the problem, and in his usual fashion, begins mouthing off. The other JL members make comments about how Bruce should send him to boarding school, obviously as a joke. He must have thought it was a good idea though, because Damian gets sent away to the Titans Tower to learn a little something about team work.  

The new Titans lineup is made up of Beast Boy, Raven, Blue Beetle, and, of course, Damian Wayne. This version of Starfire is older, matching the age of Nightwing, and serves as the team's leader, teacher, and mentor. Of course, Damian has to learn to fit in, and there's a lot of time spent simply playing around with how these characters interact.

Eventually, it's shown that Superman has been possessed by Trigon, as the demon father of Raven attempts to find her. He possesses the rest of the team too, at which point the Titans fight the Justice League. The Titans are able to get the Justice League back to normal after some hard work, but things go from bad to worse as Raven is forced to bring her father to Earth in his fullest form. The rest of the film focuses on the heroes of the DC universe working together to try and stop him from destroying the entire planet.

As I'm a huge fan of the original Teen Titans cartoon, I couldn't help but think as I watched Justice League vs. Teen Titans that this is exactly everything that fans of the original animated series want to see. The greatest things about the film were no doubt the humor, and watching these characters interact with each other. For instance, one scene features a Dance Dance Revolution dance off between Beast Boy and Damian Wayne - which to be honest, is alone worth the price of the movie just to see.

The voice actors do a great job, and you can definitely tell that some of them take inspiration from the talent of the original series, though they never venture into straight imitation. Of course, they'll never be the voice of the Titans to my generation, but they are more than totally suited for their roles. Special mention definitely needs to be made of Tarissa Farmiga's Raven and Brandon Soo Hoo's Beast Boy.  

The story was a nice change of pace, as it focused on the forces surrounding Raven's powers. It was very well written, though the plot wasn't necessarily anything complex or groundbreaking. It only once delved into unnecessary ground in my opinion, during a sequence in which a certain relative of Damian mysteriously appears.

Likewise, "Justice League vs. Teen Titans" was somewhat of a misnomer, as that really wasn't what the film was about. It's definitely a great way to get people interested, and I don't personally mind it, but if you're wanting to watch a film about how the two teams disagree and fight over idealogical issues, this is not the movie you're looking for.

The film also gave some fan service, which in this case really paid off. There are a few hilarious moments between Nightwing and Starfire, and their romantic relationship is definitely more than teased. Likewise, even though Cyborg wasn't ever a member of the team in this universe (taking cues from the New 52), the filmmakers still give a few winks and nods to the idea here and there (how could he NOT show up to Titans Tower with pizza?).

All in all, Justice League vs Teen Titans is perhaps one of the greatest additions to DC's new animated universe, and I'll definitely be picking up a copy when it's released. It's funny, it's character driven, and in the end, the savior of the day is exactly who it should have been. Overall, it's one of my favorite DC animated films, right behind the adaptation of The Dark Knight Returns, and right before Justice League: Gods and Monsters. Thankfully, a post credits scene seems to confirm that DC animation will not be done with the Teen Titans moving forward. Expect more!

Justice League vs. Teen Titans will be available digitally on March 29th and on DVD and Blu-Ray April 12th.

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