ANIMATION REVIEW: Justice League Vs. Teen Titans (2016) DVD/Blu-ray Combo

91FPDdG53jL._SL1500_WARNING! SPOILERS WITHIN! 

If there’s one problem I have with these DC animated movies, and believe me it’s the only problem I have, it’s that they “follow the money” when it comes to the subject(s) of their movies thanks to the perceived financial failure of Wonder Woman (2009). Because of that we only get movies about Batman, Superman and/or the Justice League, not that I’m complaining I own all but two of these movies, but after a while you really do get a hankering to see them focus on someone else. I’d love to see them do a Swamp Thing animated movie, but that won’t happen until WB decides to make a new, expensive, tent-pole live action flick first.

When Bruce Timm left and they decided to go in a new direction with the line they mentioned they wanted to focus on other characters as well. I rejoiced and the results have been great, but they still “followed the money.” They’ve done Flash and Aquaman-centric flicks, but using the League as a backdrop believing a solo Flash or Aquaman film would be shunned by fans, I guess. You can even tell by the way they titled them: Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox (2013) and Justice League: Throne Of Atlantis (2015). For the newb who’s just getting into these they did a Suicide Squad movie, but you’d never know it by the way they titled it, Batman: Assault On Arkham (2014). Since Batman played a really small part in that flick personally I think they should have just called it Suicide Squad: Assault On Arkham.

Their newest venture into exploring new characters and new teams is Justice League Vs. Teen Titans. In one of the extras one of the producers says he hopes this will be the beginning of having a Teen Titans line of animated movies alongside their usual ones about Batman, Superman and the Justice League. I hope this means they’ll be titled Teen Titans: Fill-In-The-Subtitle and not include the JL team, since this beginning Teen Titans flick was damn good! I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. If they don’t, I still support the line.

When it comes to the Teen Titans and they cartoon history I’m not sure why the makers want to aim the show at like 8-year-olds and under. The first series that ran from 2003-2006 on the Cartoon Channel was aimed at the little ones, but not by so much. I took in a few episodes but never stayed with the show. I hear the storylines got more “mature” in the later seasons, but then a new show, Teen Titans Go! debuted in 2013 and this one was clearly aimed at tots. The closest thing we’ve had so far to a series aimed at, say, 14 and above is the superbly plotted and animated Young Justice (2010-2013). Now DC/WB has decided to finally get this team into full animated movie form. The roster for this new movie is Robin (Damien Wayne), Starfire, Raven, Beast Boy, and Blue Beetle. Cyborg and Nightwing have small parts. Really small for Nightwing, and even though Cyborg ends up fighting alongside the Titans he doesn’t join the team, at least not in this entry. Starfire is the oldest (about as old as Nightwing is in these new line) and the leader of the team here, having formed it. The other members fall more in the teen category, with Robin appearing to be the youngest on the team. Now for a first entry in this Teen Titans franchise this is a good “origin tale.”

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The main focus here is Raven and her past and how it’s about to rear up straight from Hell and bite her and the entire world in the ass. It seems the team is fairly new and having been formed by Starfire for teen heroes who feel like outsiders. Robin reads her the riot act at one point for not vetting Raven more carefully and for once I have to agree with that little insufferable shit (yeah, Damien Wayne rubs me the wrong way). Raven’s closed off, very loner-ish, and has “lied” to the team about her father, to which they naturally assumed he was dead. So you can imagine their shock when she finally lays all her cards out on the table and they learn she’s the offspring of a demonic coupling (Trigon) and human female.

Trigon’s is a world destroyer and it’s only a matter of time before he sets his sights on Earth. His secondary motive is re-acquiring his daughter whom he thinks should be by his side because they are blood. Raven has a lot of her father’s powers, but thank God for that human side for it has shown her Trigon is nothing more than pure evil, and apparently at some point in the past they had it out and she imprisoned him in a crystal down in Hell. Well, guess what, guys, the fucker got loose!

The flick starts off though focusing on Robin’s introduction into the team. Starfire thinking it might be good for him to be a member and learn what it means to be a team player, which does not go well at all on day #1. Kudos to the storytellers for giving that little shit a taste of his own medicine right in the beginning. You know how he is, he thinks he knows everything and can take anyone. That thinking almost gets him killed when during a sparring session he pushed Blue Beetle a little too far and you all know what that looks like when that happens. Jaime Reyes shuts down and the scarab takes over and that means, if you’re fighting him at that moment, you might as well kiss your ass goodbye. Beetle turns around and blast Robin with that Guyver-like chest weapon he has and blasts off the side of Wayne’s face. Yup, Beetle has effective terminally wounded the kid. I love Garfield’s (Beast Boy) line at this moment when they realize Robin is probably going to die –“This is going to be an awkward call to Batman.” Luckily, Raven stepped in and used her powers to heal him. But I would have loved to have heard that call: “Uh, hi, Batman, yeah, I’ve got some bad news. You sitting down? Beetle accidentally iced Robin. No, really, he’s dead. I mean, like, super dead. Blew the side of his right off. Sorry about that.”

Actually I should back up even more. This movie starts right off, I mean right after the opening credits, with the League battling the Legion Of Doom at their Hall Of Justice. After the battle is over a demon who was laying in wait possessed Weather Wizard, but this demon wasn’t looking to possess a villain, it was looking for a Leaguer. Trigon’s plan is to get all the Leaguers possessed and have them go after Raven, which does happen. But the actual League taking on the Titans is only a small portion of the movie. The first thing is to get Trigon on the Earth. He’s not totally free yet. He can only send his minions to cause trouble, and possess, while he himself can only visit astrally. Raven is the key though, and she’s kidnapped and made to be part of this ritual that finally gets Trigon on the Earth in the demonic flesh. Once that happens he begins laying waste to the nearest city. Not even the League (now exorcised from their demons) can stop him. But you know who can? That’s right, the Titans, but to do it they have to go to Hell.

Hell reacts oddly to Beast Boys powers. In this dimension he can’t take on the form of any animal he wants, here it has to be a demonic form, but he still fights on the side of good. Robin has to face his grandfather now having learned earlier from Raven Ra’s Al Ghul was actually a demon and now that he’s dead and back in Hell he serves Trigon. After some heavy eye candy of battling demons Raven manages to suck Trigon out of Earth’s dimension and put him in this tiny red shard which she attaches to her forehead allowing her to keep watch over him where ever she goes.

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Terra, from the after credits scene!

The after credits sequence is future Titan, Terra, careening towards the Tower on a boulder levitating over the ocean. She looks kinda pissed too. Speaking of credit sequences, it looks like new status quo for the opening ones are just the title popping up briefly. That’s it. This started with the last animated movie, Batman; Bad Blood (2016). I’m a big fan of opening title sequences, I like to see them and listen to the score. I guess DC/WB just wants to get into the movie as quick as possible. Understandable, but not likable.

On April 12 Warner Brothers releases Justice League Vs. Teen Titans on separate DVD, DVD/Blu-ray/Digital Copy, DVD/Blu-ray/Digital Copy (Deluxe Edition) with Robin figure.


Video/Audio/Subtitles: 1080p 1.78:1 high definition widescreen—5.1 English DTS-HD Master Audio/5.1 French Dolby Digital/5.1 German Dolby Digital/ 2.0 Spanish Dolby Digital/5.1 Spanish Dolby Digital—English, French, Spanish, German subs only

Extras included . . .

 

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About Shawn Francis

Movie collector and horror writer.
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