It feels like it wasn’t too long ago that I was reviewing Batman: Bad Blood and then suddenly, DC released another animated film. I’m not complaining at all, I was just completely surprised to learn that Justice League vs. Teen Titans was available to purchase digitally. I’ve been rather critical of DC’s animated films since they relaunched their animated universe back in 2011. Most of the films I’ve found to be rather mediocre which was always disappointing, considering how much I was looking forward to the new art style and new stories. The majority of the films are loosely based off of story arcs from the New 52, which started off in Justice League: War which was an adaption of the graphic novel Justice League: Origins by Geoff Johns. I consider that to be the low point in the new DC animated universe. After that came out and Justice League: Throne of Atlantis, a movie I really wanted to like but didn’t, I was convinced that these films were going to remain mediocre. Then came along Batman: Bad Blood and I found myself actually enjoying the movie! A lot! I found that film to be extremely entertaining and my hope in the DCAU movies was restored. So when Justice League vs. Teen Titans was announced, I was very intrigued. Mostly because I love the Teen Titans and to finally see their introduction in the DCAU was very exciting. And I am happy to report that this film delivers. I would definitely consider this film to be one of DCAU’s finer works since 2011. So let’s find out what this movie was all about shall we?
Justice League vs. Teen Titans features the introduction of the Teen Titans into the DC animated universe. With a roster that features both classic characters of the Titans like Starfire, Beast Boy, and Raven, it also introduced new characters to the team. That would be the likes of Blue Beetle and Damian Wayne. It was a great way to introduce new fans to these beloved characters. While the title of the film is Justice League vs. Teen Titans, don’t be fooled. This film barely features the two teams going head to head. Rather, the film is loosely based on the highly acclaimed story arc, Terror of Trigon that was featured during Marv Wolfman’s run on New Teen Titans back in the 80’s.
So the story starts off with the Justice League taking on the Legion of Doom (Lex Luthor, Cheetah, Solomon Grundy, Toymaster and Weather Wizard). As the Justice League is taking on the Legion, Damian has had enough doing tasks he believes are beneath him and disobeys Batman a few times. Meanwhile, a mysterious shadow-like being has taken over Weather Wizard, making him extremely powerful and deadly. It takes the combined might of the Justice League and Damian to drive the mysterious force out of Weather Wizard. Batman confronts Damian about his insubordination, telling him that the Justice League isn’t about being a one man army, it’s about team work. Damian’s not having it and even Flash suggests putting him in boarding school. But Batman has another idea.
Damian is brought to Titan’s Tower by Nightwing under Batman’s orders. He explains that it might be a good idea to try spending time with individuals who are more like him. Nightwing introduces him to the team leader (and his girlfriend) Starfire, and team members Beast Boy, Blue Beetle, and Raven. However, Damian blatantly disrespects all of the members of the team, and it even causes a fight to break out between himself and Blue Beetle. It takes some getting used to and Starfire asks Nightwing for any help with Damian, and decides to take the team out for some fun. Here they run into a few minions of Trigon, the shadow creature that attached itself to Weather Wizard. We also learn that Trigon is Raven’s father. The minions go after Raven and the Teen Titans suit up in the most anime-like transformation scene I’ve ever seen. Yeah, it was a little strange, that and the music at the fair. Raven reveals to them her origin, about how her naive mother had joined a cult and had been offered up as a bride to Trigon.
Trigon’s influence also affects members of the Justice League as we see Superman nearly kill Atomic Skull as he is possessed by Trigon. When the Justice League find out that Raven is the key, they demand to take her, but the Teen Titans aren’t willing to hand her over. Soon, the League is overtaken by Trigon and a fight breaks out. The Teen Titans are no match for the Trigon-possessed Justice League. Wonder Woman overpowers Starfire and threatens to snap her neck with her lasso while Flash threatens to kill Damian if Raven won’t comply. To save her friends life, she surrenders herself to Trigon.
I’m going to stop there with the spoilers because I’d love you all to see the film. Overall, it was a really fun film that featured some great art and solid animation. The voice acting was pretty strong as well, though I was a little iffy on the voice actress for Raven. It’s fun to see a film that focuses on a new team that doesn’t include Batman or any of the Justice League. Though they make an appearance in the film, it is definitely a Teen Titans film. I know the character designs have been under scrutiny since the new animated universe debuted in 2011, but I must admit that I really enjoyed it. They’ve seemed to really hammer out some of the complaints viewers had about some of the designs. For me, I always found Superman to be overly muscular in these films and same with Flash for some reason. While Superman hasn’t changed much, luckily Flash has a bit. For me, the star of the film was Starfire. I’m a big Starfire fan and seeing her back with the Teen Titans made me happy. In the comics she’s been by herself, and while that’s been fun, it doesn’t feel right if she isn’t with a Titans team. Also, I loved her design in the film. In the comics, she’s had a bad reputation for having extremely revealing outfits, and I think they did a fantastic job with her costume. I can say the same about Cyborg, who does make his way onto this team by the end of the film. The Teen Titans series that is debuting for DC Comics Rebirth actually looks a lot like this movie to me. You have Starfire, Beast Boy, Raven, and Damian Wayne all coming back in that series.
For a fan of the Teen Titans, I was extremely pleased with this movie. Sure, some might be a little hesitant to try it because of Damian Wayne’s inclusion. Heck, even I was. But I urge you to give it a shot if you enjoy these DC animated films, because it’s one of their better ones. I’ll also add that it makes me want a live action Titans film in the DCEU. Here’s hoping that maybe Cyborg gets changed into that right? I’d like to hear what you all thought about the film if you’ve seen it. You can buy Justice League vs. Teen Titans digitally now and on DVD April 12th.