Thursday, September 29, 2016

Justice League vs. Teen Titans

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! The worst part is the fact this whole battle was resolved due to the fact that every member of both teams all had moms named Martha (Yes, I will beat this dead horse of a joke into oblivion).

Justice League vs. Teen Titans – 4 out of 5

The DC animated universe continues with Justice League vs.Teen Titans and, for one reason or another, I wasn’t chomping at the bit to see this one.  While I still think DC is doing a great job with their animated films—honestly better than their live-action stuff currently—this one just didn’t speak to me and I put it on the backburner.  It’s possible that due to their last few being less than I hoped for caused me to subconsciously take my time seeing this one but, after finally getting around to it, I have to say it wasn’t half bad.

"Teen Titans...Assemble--no wait, we can't say that or the even super-villain
Intellectual Property Lawyer will show up."

So...where exactly do the Teen Titans live?
In an effort to have his son Damian (Stuart Allen) learn teamwork, Batman (Jason O’Mara) sends him to work with the Teen Titans.  Led by Starfire (Kari Wahlgren), Robin is introduced to the shapeshifting Beast Boy (Brandon Soo Hoo), the boy with some interesting tech connected to him; Blue Beetle (Jake T. Austin) and the mysterious and mystic Raven (Taissa Farmiga).  While this is going on, a violent supernatural force called Trigon (Jon Bernthal) possesses the Justice League and seeks out Raven so that he can take over the world.  Now it’s up to the Teen Titans to free Superman (Jerry O’Connell), Wonder Woman (Rosario Dawson), The Flash (Christopher Gorham) and Cyborg (Shemar Moore) and save the world by stopping the evil menace.

I guess if I was an all-powerful being I would wear stupid pants like that, too.

Continuing with the tradition of their other animated films, Justice League vs. Teen Titans continues to adapt their comic book stories in unique, albeit loose, ways and they fill them with great animation, killer action and a great cast of voice actors.  The new additions to the cast and returning favorites are all doing their jobs terrifically and really making their characters come to life.  I especially liked Jon Bernthal as the villain Trigon and found that Brandon Soo Hoo was very entertaining as Beast Boy.

I feel I should make a Harambe joke with Beast Boy but I just can't bring myself
to do it.

One major issue I had with the film, though, is it continues the very old and very tired tradition in the world of comics of making sure that females aren’t equal to men and that women are sex symbols first.  While the story is essentially all about Raven and her lineage and connection to Trigon, it’s made clear that it is Robin; Damian Wayne, who is the man that gets her to the spotlight.  Robin is brought to the Teen Titans, Robin is leery of Raven and Robin is the awesome male version of Mary Sue going on here and then, very awkwardly, the story shifts from how amazing Damian Wayne is to Raven and who she is.  While there isn’t anything essentially wrong with Robin being the catalyst that brings us to Raven’s tale but showing that she is the focal point of the conflict was pretty sloppy in its execution.  This element is actually pretty amusing when you consider they decided to include a scene where Superman and Wonder Woman go on a date to a movie and after it’s over Wonder Woman complains because the woman in the film is treated like she is less than a man.  Oops.

By the power of a goth attitude and the color purple!

I am actually pretty forgiving of using Robin to get to Raven’s story because Damian is connected to Batman and DC won’t do anything without Batman having some part in it—he’s their money-maker—but the hardest part to overlook is how DC puts Starfire as a sex symbol first and a hero a distant second.  This woman is made leader of the Teen Titans in this adaptation but you’d never know it.  She’s never really given any weight to her character and, even worse, is just played for her T&A appeal.  There’s an atrocious scene where she is video chatting with Dick Grayson and you see her lean in close to the camera in her barely closed robe so that all you see is her breasts and there’s not one but two shots of her butt as she is changing into her uniform during a battle at a carnival.  These shots are completely superfluous and just look like a sex-crazed middle school student directed this part of the film.  I know this makes me sound like one of those feminazis and social justice warriors that people complain about on Twitter but it’s 2016.  If we can have male heroes who are identified by their actions and heroics first, can’t we have our female heroes be the same?  Sure, comics can be about eye candy for both sexes but there also has to be a balance and it would have been nice to Starfire as more than just a body to lust over.

Yes, DC.  This was totally necessary.

My problems with sexist writing aside, Justice League vs.Teen Titans is a fairly entertaining animated film from DC.  Granted, it’s not the most memorable of their films but it continues the standard they’ve set for the technical prowess of their features and it feels far less constrained and rushed in the way some of their other films have come off.  Additionally, it’s kinda cool to see characters like the Jaime Reyes version of Blue Beetle, Beast Boy and Raven show up.  

I leave you now with a pic of Blue Beetle and not another shot of
Starfire's butt.

1 comment:

  1. I'm a huge fan of Justice League and every DC films out there. I haven't been following the Teen Titans though coz i don't feel like they're much of a link to the DC universe continuity not as much as The Runaways of Marvel. But if you could enlighten me about that i might just. Anyways thanks for the review. In case you have time, please visit our page as well and let us know your opinion.


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