Okay, DC, ya got me.
First, it was Daffy Duck in the Warner Bros. Animation intro, then it was the fun and poppy art-style of the piece, and—finally—the Titans being voiced by the “original” actors (something I never cared to look up about Go! before, as it seemed like a sloppy, unnecessarily-updated reboot.
I never said I couldn’t be proven wrong, however. Never.
What I miss about the old Teen Titans show on Cartoon Network may not be entirely gone from the proceedings; as I said, all the voice actors are the same for the main characters, and it helped me ease back into what I thought was going to be a sugar-coated re-imagination of the 2003-06 animated series. Though this is definitely not the dark and gritty, young-adult serial I remember (specifically why I didn’t check into the Go! show when it originally aired), I…really enjoyed my time with these new Titans.
From the top…
The sight gags and toilet humor were some immediate put-offs, being cracked off in the first few minutes of the piece like the aged joints of a rheumatism patient. Quickly redeeming much of the following, though, are all the self-deprecating jabs, references, and nods—and not just to DC and their successes and failures, but those of Marvel, as well. The whole thing is very meta—something I got from the trailers, when I first glimpsed them in the theatre. Aquaman gets picked on a few times (in very satisfying ways), and there are some great Batman gags thrown in for good measure. No one is left unroasted, though. It’s a good on-boarding point for newer, younger DC fans—lots of exposition about existing characters, and how big franchise events work. There’s also a very cheeky cameo in here, too, that the more learned fans of both cinematic universes will enjoy.
The score is varied and fun, as well, and some of the soundtrack pieces—A-Ha’s “Take On Me” (still fresh in my head from Ready Player One), “Back In Time” by Huey Lewis, and an original track for the film, performed by Michael Bolton—are also a treat to have aboard such a kid-oriented piece. There’s another original song—“GO!” by Lil Yachty—made just for the film, and it’s…catchy, to say the least. I’ll probably have it stuck in my head for the rest of the day.
Will Arnett as Slade, just coming off voicing Batman in both The LEGO Movie and its LEGO Batman spin-off, is one of the best things about all this. Starfire is kind of annoying and repetitive, now, but, as a team, the Titans are still cool—if not a little kiddy. We finally got Nic Cage as Superman (even if he is just voicing the Blue Boyscout). Other voice actor cameos pop up, and are nice Easter eggs for older fans of cinema (and videogames).
Overall, though, I was pleasantly-surprised with the amount of genuine laughs I got out of this. As with most kids’ movies, there’s stuff in there for the adults in the audience, too, who are being dragged out by their spawn and forced to foot the bill—a silent understanding between the studios and child-rearers that dates back to the early days of Pixar. A proud tradition I’m glad to see carried on here, too. The before-credits and mid-creds were the icing on the cake, though! No spoilers, but this old dog may have his day, yet!
I would like a Challengers of the Unknown spin-off now, though… And maybe a DC Super Hero Girls feature-length movie, since the attached short, “The Late Batsby”, seemed more like a teaser to something later, rather than its own entity. There’s also a music video for the Lil Yachty joint I mentioned. Didn’t help the “stuck in my head” part much.
All-in-all, a good time.
Score: 9 out of 10
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