REVIEW: ‘Teen Titans’ on the big screen is plenty of fun

It’s no secret that Hollywood today is mostly dominated by films adapted from comic books featuring superheroes. And while most of the films in the genre have been above average lately, it remains a category of movies ripe for comedy.

Enter “Teen Titans Go! To the Movies,” which spends nearly its entire hour and 30 minute runtime taking aim at superhero films, mostly under the DC Comics banner. For the most part, it ends up being a success.

While this is the first movie for “Go,” the “Teen Titans” actually have a long history of adaptations from the pages of comic books. Notable examples include the straight to video films “Justice League vs Teen Titans ” and “Teen Titans: The Judas Contract,” as well as a live action series coming later this year simply titled “Titans.” However, the most memorable adaptation for most individuals, especially those in my own age bracket, is the 2003 series.

The series lasted five seasons and it’s actually where “Go” comes into the picture. A few years after the end of the last season, Cartoon Network rebooted the series as a self-parody with a different animation style.

“Go to the Movies” is the big picture adaptation of that reboot series. In their big screen feature, the very self-aware and fourth wall-breaking Titans, with a roster that includes Robin (Scott Menville), Raven (Tara Strong), Cyborg (Khary Payton), Beast Boy (Greg Cipes) and Starfire (Hynden Walch), notice that while they’re an established team of supers, they have yet to break through like other heroes and get their own movie.

The film picks up with Robin, still living in the shadow of Batman, especially upset that his story hasn’t been adapted into a full motion feature. As a result, the boy wonder and the rest of the Titans set out to earn recognition and get their own big budget superhero film made.

Last year, “The LEGO Batman Movie” was released to theaters and was rightfully praised for its takes on the genre, with jokes and gags taking aim at the genre and Batman himself. “Go to the Movies” is very similar in its approach and it works fairly well.

That’s not to say that every attempt at comedy by the Titans work. This is a film that throws humor to the audience nearly every minute so just by the quantity, not everything will make an audience laugh. However, there are many times the comedy pulls off the landing and provide good laughs.

One especially good sequence is where the Titans travel through time and appear during the origin stories of various crime fighters.

Part of the reason the humor works is its lead characters. On top of the voice actors doing a solid job of providing a lot of energy to their roles, the characters themselves all have different personalities, allowing for a constant, humorous banter.

The Titans are also written in a way that balances their traits from the more serious source material, their general aloofness to their surroundings and their self-awareness. As a result, attempts at humor have more variety.

Credit also needs to go to the animation team, who’ve brought a very fun and vibrant art style to the big screen that matches the goofy tone of the product. Even when there wasn’t any dialogue, the sight gags or simple facial expressions added plenty of humor to the mix.

While it’s true that the story featured in “Titans” is rather thin and the songs played are hit and miss, the movie largely accomplishes its job of being funny. If you’re a comic book or superhero movie fan, see it for sure. If not, some of the jokes might be lost and a recommendation is a little shakier. So, carry the one, divide by two, and this one settles at a 3.75 out of 5.

Author: Matthew Liedke

Journalist and film critic in Minnesota. Graduate of Rainy River College and Minnesota State University in Moorhead. Outside of movies I also enjoy sports, craft beers and the occasional video game.

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