Teen Titans Go! to the Movies
Teen Titans Go! to the Movies 2018
I’ll be honest: I’ve only seen a couple episodes of the original Teen Titans cartoon, but I’ve seen a much larger handful of Teen Titans Go! And on top of that, I’m someone who generally champions different takes on properties so I do quite enjoy the wacky sitcom-esque basis for Go! so I was actually quite excited to see this film even though I missed out on watching it when it was in theaters. This is a property that doesn’t take itself seriously and it often uses self-deprecating humor, there’s also quite a bit of background details that cover the breadth of DC comics knowledge though there’s not quite as much background details as something like a LEGO Movie, but for someone like me who has a lot of DC movie and TV knowledge, but not a lot of comics knowledge, there were a lot of deep cuts that I recognized, and plenty other deep cuts that were too deep for even me.
If you haven’t seen any of the episodes of Teen Titans Go! it’s basically a superhero sitcom where the members of the Teen Titans spend more time playing games of Jinx or other random social interactions than they ever do actually fighting any villains or criminals. And the movie takes it to the next level as Robin essentially wants them to have their own movie, or even if he could get his own movie personally without the rest of the team. They get kicked out of the premier of the latest DC superhero movie and have to find their own archnemesis which they find in the form of Slade Wilson with a similar look as the original Teen Titans cartoon, except this time around he’s voice by Will Arnett in a similar fashion as his Batman, only as a villain this time instead of a hero.
The humor is one of those things that tend to be hit or miss for most people. There are several extended musical numbers that are quite fun including one about Robin’s own movie and an introductory song that actually does work as a primer for someone not familiar with any of the characters. The song is also quite fun because it’s intended as a distraction for a giant balloon supervillain, but instead they get so wrapped up in the song that they actually distract themselves while the villain goes on a rampage and ultimately gets stopped by a few members of the Justice League. There’s also some fun deep cuts as there’s a giant crowd scene filled with actual DC characters and they even point out one of the biggest unknowns who are actually called the Challengers of the Unknown. There’s also quite a bit of meta humor including plenty of references to Marvel characters and comics including a couple meta-referential cameos by Stan Lee.
The other fun thing was the different animation styles that were present throughout the movie during the different songs and a fun Lion King inspired dream sequence. There’s even an early credit sequence that shows the original look of the Teen Titans and teases the next movie which is supposed to be the Teen Titans vs Teen Titan Go! Honestly, one of the biggest surprises in this film is that there are quite a few action sequences where the Teen Titans actually fight a bad guy. There is the opening sequence where they’re fighting the balloon guy, a couple scenes with Slade, and one where they are fighting everyone, or at least being chased by everyone. Of course, the action is typically undercut with some gag that deflates the actual tension of the actual action to turn it into a joke. But there are action beats and a heroic through line that’s interspersed with plenty of gags and music.
Teen Titans Go! is a difficult property to really describe, as it is so completely random at times, and has wildly different takes on several characters. The biggest change is likely Cyborg who has been a member of the Justice League at different points in continuity, but here he’s basically a transforming jukebox that’s more interested in what’s for dinner than what’s going to stop the latest super villain. Robin is more interested in getting a movie made and worrying about the rest of the team making fun of his baby hands. Raven is the character that probably gets the short straw as she seemingly has the least amount of dialogue and is basically just used to summon portals to either get the team into the movie premier or transport random heroes to a nether dimension.
All in all, this felt like a movie-fied version of the television show. More than that, it didn’t do what many television-to-movie adaptations struggle with and this didn’t really feel like an extended episode of the show, it did feel like they scaled everything up to make the movie worth it. There were actual action beats, the songs worked well and each had their own style to them, there were plenty of background gags and Easter eggs throughout. But most importantly, the humor worked with me and made me laugh. It was fun, it was entertaining, and that’s really what I wanted the most from this movie. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.