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Teen Titans GO! To The Movies – Movie Review

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Teen Titans GO! To The Movies – Movie Review

Rating: A- (Great)

Trailer/Thumbnail Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures

Cartoon Network’s comedic Teen Titans GO series has been running for five years and creators Michael Jelenic and Aaron Horvath have crafted a funny and silly cartoon exploring what a quintet of superheroes might do when they’re not fighting crime. In taking the show to the big screen, they use the opportunity to poke fun at how many films about caped crusaders have been produced by Hollywood over the past number of years. Warner Brothers and DC Comics aren’t even afraid of allowing the filmmakers to lampoon their own attempt at a movie universe. The result is a witty and fast-paced comedic escapade that earns its extended runtime and wide theatrical release.

Much like the television series, the Robin depicted in Teen Titans GO! To The Movies is insecure about living under the shadow of Batman and that desperation allows for a strong arc with the Boy Wonder. Jelenic and Horvath are able to use that as a jumping-off point to comment on the vast appeal of superhero movies and how studios keep churning them out. The film even highlights WB’s continuing reliance on Batman over the years. While Robin is given the central focus, the other Teen Titans are allowed their moments to shine, including a wildly entertaining opening musical number that works as an introduction for those unfamiliar with the team and to get the audience pumped up. There is also a humourous song with a guest appearance by a famous ballad performer and the best song, Robin’s pitch for his own superhero movie.

The gags never stop and most of them succeed. There is definitely a reliance on reference humour, but they fit into the story being told and not just for the sake of it. DC Comics unsurprisingly is the focus of most of the jokes, which will tickle some comic book fans. There is even a nod to an infamous unproduced Superman movie by having Nicolas Cage voice the Man of Steel. The cameos from the superheroes are consistently funny and the creators even throw some more obscure DC properties in there. The overall story is well done, with the villain Slade proving to be a solid threat for the Titans.

The animation has been given a slight upgrade from the television series, which is most evident during the action scenes. Directors Horvath and Peter Rida Michail revel in the larger space they’ve been given and allow the action to have the proper excitement to it. There are also a few scenes done in other animation styles, including a hilarious parody of a certain Disney classic. The voice cast has been nicely carried over from the series, with Scott Menville making Robin sympathetic enough through his frequent whining. Tara Strong’s deadpan delivery as Raven is always worth a chuckle, while Greg Cipes, Khary Payton and Hynden Walch also deserve praise for their excitable depictions of Beast Boy, Cyborg and Starfire, respectively. In an age when big name Hollywood stars are often given principal roles in animated films, it’s refreshing to hear professional voice actors take the lead.

Teen Titans GO! To The Movies is a delight from start to finish, even as it frequently ribs on the genre it’s a part of. In a summer where a new superhero movie has seemingly opened every few weeks, this marks a satisfying capper to the comic book escapades that have flooded the multiplexes during these heat-filled months. It has the right amount of self-awareness and brilliantly marries our knowledge of the classic superheroes with the modern movie phenomenon. It’s also an example of how to properly take an animated television series and stretch it into a feature-length story. The Teen Titans GO television series is extremely funny, too, but now feels almost quaint compared to all of the stops the creators pull with this movie.

 

Stefan Ellison
THE SCENE

Stefan Ellison