The DC “Civil War”?
Justice League vs. Teen Titans is basically a “click-bait” title to lure you into checking it out. If you got tricked into believing that this would be some kind of “Civil War” from DC, then I’m sorry, it’s not. However, is it any good? Why is it a misleading title? Is it worth watching?
Another 52 universe animation with Damian
These last couple of animated movies from DC and Warner Bros. Animation don’t seem like they want to let go of the (to some extent) horrendous 52 comic reboot, neither do they want to get rid of Damian. Why? Because Damian appeals to the younger crowd? Most likely, because I want to believe that anyone over the age of at least 16 can sense that he is the most inferior iteration of the various Robins. Although Damian doesn’t seem to have matured at all since the Son of Batman or Robin vs. Batman movies (still acts like an egotistical brat), they do try to make him more likeable towards the end. There’s actually some character development for Damian in this flick, which is very much appreciated; even if it’s just a little bit.
The essence of Justice League vs. Teen Titans
Since JL vs. TT is supposed to introduce the Teen Titans into the DC animated universe, it can be said that this is their origin story, but not really. What we get is a struggle to try to tell the back-story of Raven, an attempt which feels half-assed. The reason to thus might be because the movie feels childish. The target audience is certainly more leaned towards kids, but as the fact that I am a few years over the age of 18, I’ll write from a somewhat mature adults perceptive. There are a few sexual jokes and semi-nude scenes, which feels like a desperate cry to try to appeal to the older crowd and are misplaced for a film with the tone of a kids-flick with fart jokes, over-dramatic dialogue and cheesy one-liners. It’s still appropriate that they try to tell this story arc, it’s an important Teen Titans story to tell and is most often the beginning arc to the Teen Titans iterations where Raven is an active team member.
They try to incorporate Raven and her mother’s little piece in the Trigon story. There’s a part where Raven talks about Trigon, her connection to him and shows him wipe out a city, but I’d like them to show everyone watching this movie how powerful and evil this galaxy demolishing demon really is; show us what his true goal is. The whole segment just feels glanced over. Because of this, the film feels too fast paced in the telling of the main story. Even though they show a bit of death and despair for a few minutes don’t think that this makes this film less childish. There’re almost no team-bonding scenes with the Titans, motivations are vague at best, more time is needed to flesh out the story and the “new” characters; some scenes to make us care about the characters would be very welcomed. JL vs. TT reeks with silly shallow simplicity.
Likes and mostly dislikes
The thing I dislike most about this film is the title, Justice League vs. Teen Titans. It’s completely misleading. It has next to nothing to do with the movie, the conflict between the Titans and the League take up at most 1 minute. You could argue that it’s longer, but it’s not the real League vs Titans, it’s more Trigon vs Titans. It’s like they had trouble naming this flick and had one of the interns pick a segment of the movie at random and what happens in that segment turned into the name of the film.
There’s a part I really didn’t like, the “love-story” between Raven and Damian. Why did they need this? Okay, there are one or two scenes that I think are cute and some of the jokes got a bit of a chuckle out of me, but it doesn’t lead anywhere which makes the whole thing totally pointless. The “romance” scenes are mostly at the carnival part which are accompanied by a face-palming melodramatic teen pop song. I guess this song might go down well with the youths watching this flick, but if you’re an adult, you’ll most likely just get pissed off. There’s nothing subtle about this song, just right out a cheese-fest.
Then there’s the “Dance Dance Revolution” section, way too long, serves little purpose other than boosting Damian’s ego and shows us an embarrassing version of what the creators sees as “J-pop”. The word “Cringe” isn’t nearly enough to describe the first “DDR” song, it must have been made in-studio by people that has never listened to any K- or J-pop before the making of this movie. Correct me in the comments if I’m wrong, maybe it’s actually a real song.
I kinda like the voice actors for the Justice Leauge, they do an alright job, especially if you compare them to the voices of the Teen Titans. Raven’s voice actor stands out in a bad way. Sure, she is supposed to act like a cold teen girl, no-feelings-type, but her voice acting feels way off. She cracks the immersion of the movie completely with some of her lines. This breaks my nerdy little DC heart, because Raven is one of my favorite female character from the DC universe and has one of the biggest roles in this story. I wished they would have went with a something more alike the voice from the Teen Titans animated series from 2003.
There are several little blunders that may be viewed as nitpicks, but they are obvious when watching the film. You can’t really miss them and they take chop away little by little any of the immersion in the movie that can be felt. (Very minor spoilers incoming!) There’s a scene at the 16 minute mark, Damian’s face gets burnt, Raven heals him, cut to next scene and he is still burnt, someone screwed up unfortunately. Just a minute after that happens, there comes a scene where Cyborg uses something he calls “Quadrant Pixel Enhancement” that increases the resolution of security video footage — what? I’m not an expert in videography, but that doesn’t make any sense, right? Maybe they took some inspiration from this video? Now admittedly, I haven’t read a huge amount of Teen Titans, so I don’t know if Cyborg gets this power at any point in the comics, but even if he does, it’s pretty silly.
Another minor thing I noticed is that the sound design gets strange at times, such as the attack/battle sounds. They sometimes had that special little ring to it that just screams Looney Toons. Now, there’s nothing wrong with using cartoony sound effects, if you use them at appropriate moments. However, when it’s used like they are in JL vs. TT, it makes you think “Wait what? Am I watching Bugs Bunny?”. It’s time-consuming and expensive to create new effects, though you probably also feel like a company like Warner Bros. should be able to invest in sound effects that feels more appropriate for what is happening on screen.
One good thing I can say about JL vs. TT is that the animation quality isn’t lousy. The fighting scenes looks for the most part pretty solid and the backgrounds are pleasing to the eye.
Worth watching? If you’re under 16, yes, it might be worth your time. But if you’re not, then you’ll probably dislike this feature.
Justice League vs. Teen Titans gets a NO from me. Totally skippable.