Sunday, August 5, 2018

Review of TEEN TITANS GO! TO THE MOVIES: Superhero Spoof-fest!

August 4, 2018

At the outset, I confess that I do not really know much about this "Teen Titans Go!" animated series. The members of this newest incarnation (starting 2013) include Robin, Raven, Beast Boy, Starfire, and Cyborg. Of these five, I only know Robin, since he was part of the original Teen Titans I knew as a child in comic books, along with Kid Flash, Aqualad and Wonder Girl. This new version is more hyper, to cater to the new generation of hyperactive kids.

Because fellow superheroes do not take them seriously, Robin is obsessed with having a movie made about him and his team. Hollywood superhero film director Jade Wilson thought it was a bad idea. Robin was so desperate to have a movie about him made such that he convinced his team to go back in time to stop the senior superheros from becoming superheros. The Teen Titans also engaged powerful arch-villain Slade to thwart his evil plan of world domination, all in order to make Robin's dream movie compelling.

This was one bright, colorful, energetic and funny animated movie. Fans of DC comics of all ages will surely enjoy all the references and spoofs about all the DC superheroes you can think of, both major (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, etc...) or minor (Atom, Zatanna, Plastic Man, etc...) It was fun to catch various cameos in the background as well. My son even called it the "Ready Player One" of animated films. 

That absurd "Batman v Superman" (2016) film climax ("Martha!") was parodied. The origin story of Superman, recreated that moment from "Superman" (1978) when Jor-El (Marlon Brando) was putting the baby Kal-El into the escape pod. Even Gene Hackman and the scheme he hatched as Lex Luthor in that same classic film was cited in another joke. We hear music from and references about "Back to the Future" (1985) in more than one scene.

Marvel characters were not spared from jokes, like the Guardians of the Galaxy, Spider-Man, Deadpool, and Stan Lee himself. Even Disney got jabbed with a joke about the iconic presentation scene in "The Lion King." The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (of Mirage Studios) also got a small gag about them. I am not sure why there was such hate about him, but actor Shia LeBeouf also had a cameo, but a violent one. 

The voice work was done by the cast of the TV series: Scott Menville as Robin, Tara Strong as Raven, Greg Cipes as Beast Boy, Khary Payton as Cyborg and Hynden Watch as Starfire. The voices of the various supporting roles were: Nicolas Cage as Superman, Jimmy Fallon as Batman, Halsey as Wonder Woman, Wil Wheaton as Flash, Will Arnett as Slade and Kirsten Bell as Jade Wilson. Michael Bolton lends his voice to that animated white tiger singing the very catchy “Upbeat Inspirational Song About Life.”

How much you will like this film will be based on how much you like this incarnation of the Teen Titans, and how much you know your DC comics, and superhero lore in general. Naturally, kids familiar with the TV cartoon series will surely like it more. But believe me, parents who knew and loved their DC superheroes (and are frustrated with DC superhero movies) growing up will also enjoy their time watching this film as well. But fair warning, watch out for those juvenile booty, poop and fart jokes!  8/10. 

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