In the wake of last week's mostly negative reaction from the Titans trailer comes another variation of the team which hasn't been met with the most positive of reactions to start with. Since the release of Teen Titans Go! in 2013, majority of fans from the early 2000-anime days, have dismissed this show. They have bashed the show's more lighter and ridiculous approach to DC characters. Not to mention that television shows going to the big screen don't always have the best reputation. Hey Arnold! The Movie, Rugrats Go Wild!, Masters of the Universe just to name a few.
Even with all this stacked against it, Teen Titans Go! To the Movies is a massive surprise on numerous levels. At its' core the film tells the story of Robin trying to get his own movie. Here is a film that never takes itself so seriously and allows Warner Brothers to laugh at their past mistakes for the DC Films. Two scenes in particular ring to mind. One, which was featured in the movie's marketing, was Green Lantern being asked about his movie. To which, he responds "There was a green lantern movie, but we don't talk about that." Another comes during a parody of the infamous "Martha" scene from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. The scene rolls out as the caped crusader and the man of steel fight and actually become besties over their mother's names. When Batman actually stops to ask, "what's your father's name?", before proceeding to fight.
The jokes of the film and the commentary on how we as culture handle superhero films is extremely well done and well timed throughout this movie. To its' credit, the film also carries with it a strong morale that few animated films these days carry. Sometimes the thing that we want isn't exactly what we need. To a culture of streaming and instant gratification, this cinematic experience is bold and intelligent in its' delivery. The film boasts a fantastic soundtrack with both beautiful original songs and classics you can't help but sing along with. Not to mention the casting of Will Arnett as Slade is perfect. Arnett steals the show as the mercenary antagonist of the DC super-group. Providing some of the best jokes in the film and one of the best surprises of the movie; Slade is definitely a scene stealer.
While the film is very well focused, smart and witty - it's not the richest film to gaze upon. Past animated properties making their way to the big screen from the smaller screen, have always had a level of depth and richness to their animation. Rugrats to the The Rugrats Movie in 1998, The Simpsons to The Simpsons Movie in 2007 - even the aforementioned Hey Arnold! The Movie in 2002 had depth in its' animation. The animation here is sadly right above its' television counterpart. Aside from certain sequences where they do play around with different animation styles. For the most part, the animation lacks a sense of depth and richness. While the team and Slade are strong performers in the movie. They are a bit two dimensional. Which is a shame considering how deep the character of Slade Wilson really is. There is little to no development of these characters outside of Robin. Perhaps, the saddest part is we don't know what makes Slade tick.
Overall, Teen Titans Go! To The Movies is honestly the biggest surprise of the year. With its' witty meta commentary on the superhero genre, a killer soundtrack and a bold delivery the film proofs these kids can hang out with the Justice League anyday. However with bat-bomb elements like small screen animation and mostly two dimensional characters, the film does suffer just a bit. Just not that much; Go! is a family fun film that is worthy of a legacy similar to that of Mask of the Phantasm.
FINAL SCORE: 4.5/5
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