Justice League vs Teen Titans Review

By William Shelton

Director: Sam Liu

Screenplay By: Bryan Q. Miller, Alan Burnett

Release Date: March 29, 2016 (digitally)

Run Time: 79 minuets

Rating: PG-13

Score: 3.5/5

The first review I ever did on this blog was the DC Animated film “Justice League: War”, an animated retelling of the New 52 origin story for DC’s flagship title. I didn’t care for it. So much so that I haven’t watched any other DC animated films after that. However, with this coming out at almost the exact time I’m planing on starting a new blog and wanting my last review here to be a special one some how, I thought I’d return to where this all started and take a look at the new DC Animated film: Justice League vs Teen Titans.

The film opens with the Justice League engaged in a fight with a few supervillains. Everyone goes down rather easily but one villain, Weather Wizard, tried to run for it. While running he steps in what looks to be a shadow that ends up possessing him. When the Flash catches him, the now possessed Wizard announces “Azarath calls, the child must answer”. Superman goes to attack, but even he is no match for the demon. The Justice League figure they are going to have a much harder fight on their hands than the one they Just got done with, so Batman calls Robin (this being his son, Damian) and tells him to keep the civilians safe.

This doesn’t go over well with Damian, who’s trained all his life to be an assassin and now feels he’s being forced to the side lines. So instead of doing what he was told, Damian hijacks the…batplane…batjet….not sure what that should be called…..and fly’s it directly into Wizards chest, forcing the demon out of him. This has the side effect of forcing the last of Batman’s patience out of him. Batman sends Damian over to the Teen Titans to learn how to be a better team member. And as always, this doesn’t please Damian.

The young Robin is instantly stand-offish towards his fellow titans Beast Boy, Raven and Blue Beetle. This climaxes in a fight between Robin and Blue Beetle, where Beetle loses control of the alien tech connected to him and he nearly kills Damian. Raven uses her magic to heal him, but in doing so the two of them get a look into each others minds. Raven is terrorized of Damian and asks for him to leave her alone while Damian finds himself more intrigued than scared.

Starfire, now the groups leader and mentor rather than an acting member, takes the group to the fair hoping that some some, non-training related activities would help the group bond a little, and as it turns out she was right. Everyone has a great time…until a group of demos come for Raven, saying that her father, Azarath is coming for her. The team fight off the demons and return to the tower to come up with their next move, but when they get there they learn that the Justice League has also learned that Raven is who Azarath is looking for and try to take her. The titans resist, saying that this is their team mate thus their problem to deal with. But as the two groups are arguing Azarath possesses the Justice League and use their powers to take down the teen age super heroes. In order to save her friends Raven agrees to go to her father. Now it’s up to a weakened group of teens to save their friend, the Justice League and the world.

One of the complaints i’ve heard about the movie was that Damian came off as “whiny”. I understand this complaint, but I don’t agree with it. I personal see Damian as being incredibly depressed and just not knowing how to deal with it. He was raised as an assassin and is very good at killing, but upon becoming Robin feels he’s constantly being held back by Batman’s rules and ideals. I saw a lot of my younger self in Damian, so seeing that character learn to get over these same kind of feels I had at his age endeared me to the character more than it might have otherwise. But also like me at that age, Damian was a little prick and I totally understand why some would be put off by him.

My main issue with the film is that it felt rushed. At under 80 minuets it would have been hard not to have been, but I feel like a lot of the scenes could have used some expanding, rather than constantly moving from one plot point to the next. The creative team did pretty well with what they had, but if a 90 minuet “directors cut” ever came out I think it would help the over all film immensely. I would have liked to see more bonding and more fighting as a team rather than separately. Another thing I didn’t like: the stupid T tower. Yeah, I remember this from what little of the show I watched, and I didn’t like it then either. Sorry, it just looks dumb. But that’s nit picky.

However, in a year when we’re getting two big budget movies from both the major comic book companies where their hero’s are fighting each other, I’m kind of surprised how well this handled that same topic. I went into this thinking it would be another edgelord made grimdark film about hero’s fighting, but what I got was actually a pretty sweet film about a group of teens learning to get along andd trying to help their friends. Even when the team has to take on Superman it’s never even considered to try and hurt him too much, just do whats needed to push the demon out of him. There is once scene where superman hurts someone a little more than necessary to force out the demon in them, but it’s a minor slip up in my opinion.

And unlike in “Justice League: War”, I didn’t end up hating the characters this time. I’ve never been a fan of the Superman/Wonder Woman paring, and I still wasn’t here, but the relation ship felt real, like two people who actually care about each other. And the characterizations in War that I hated so much are no where to be seen. Wonder Woman isn’t a war hungery idiot; she even gives a feminist critique of a film she a Clark watch together, which is just so much more fitting for her character than “i’m bored waiting to meet with a world leader, lets go kill some stuff”. And Superman isn’t this snobbish ass whole who knows he can win any fight and desperate to prove that fact. While the Justice League weren’t the main focus of the film, it was nice to see the characters behaving like themselves instead of the abominations they were turned into. And as for the Teen Titans themselves go, they were all portrayed rather well. While most of the screen time was reserved for Robin and Raven, the other Titans all had their moments and came off as a likable group of teenage hero’s. They got on each others nerves, they weren’t always sure hat too do, they were quike to lose their temper and act rashly: they were kids with powers they weren’t quite ready for and the film sold me on that idea.

I’d be willing to watch more Teen Titans movies from these creators and am really considering tracking down the old cartoon. This was so much better that I thought it would be, and I am so happy to be able to say that. I’m glad that I can actually say I liked a DC project again, because it’s been a lot time since I’ve been able too.


DC Movie Line-Up Through 2020

So, there is a lot of info here, so i’m just posting the video where i heard about this.

Batman vs Superman: Leaked Pics of the Batmobile

That’s right lady’s and gentlemen, someone has leaked pics of the Batmobile for the upcoming “Batman vs Superman”.

Bat mobile 1

batmobile 2

batmobile 3

I have to say, i rather like this. It looks like a slimmer version of “The Dark Knight”s tumblr, witch many say is the coolest Batmobile.

So what do you think? DO you like the look of this batmobile? Witch incarnation of Batmans ride is your favorite? leave a comment below and let me know.

“Man of Steel 2” Title Revealed.

That’s right, Warner Bros has finally revealed the name for 2013’s “Man of Steel” squeal. the new movie will be named ” Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice”. As many have thought since cast rumors began to leak, this second entry was looking less like a “Man of Steel” sequel and more like “Justice League” prequel. If anything, the “Dawn of Justice” subheading seems to confirm that. What do you think? Are you excited for this movie? Do you think it’s trying to do too much? Do you think DC should have stole Marvels movie making plan and went in a direction that has been proven to work? Leave a comment and let me know.

Justice League: War Review

Justice League: War Review

First appearing in 1960, the Justice League is something of a geek icon and staple of American superhero comics. With it’s long history, cultural impact and relevance, the lack of a proper Justice League movie hasn’t been looked at fondly by many comic fans. But, In my opinion, Warner Brothers (who owns DC comics outright) has done enough to please me with its DC animated movies. Now that DC has rebooted it’s universe with it’s New 52, it only made since to start using the new story lines for the movies, giving both the comics and the movies a fresh start. However, for “Justice League: War” that fresh start quickly turned sour.
Starting off with the positives, most of the cast looks fantastic. The creative team used the New 52 outfits (witch is appropriate given that it is the source of the story line as well) and almost everyone makes the leap from comic stills to animation wonderfully. It was also nice to see some creativity with the Green Lanterns power constructs. Where as in some other media his ring is used to make light beams and shields (or, at it’s most moronic use, a hot wheels car and track) it was nice seeing constructs that seemed both creative and useful (and not stupid). My personal favorite was a “mechanized” battle suit that seemed based on similar ones from at lest a dozen other science fiction movies.
That, sadly, is where the positives end. The lest offensive thing this movie does wrong is having bland battles throughout most of the film. They’re not bad or poorly thought out, just bland and uninteresting, save for a few of Wonder Woman’s fights when she is using both her sword and lasso against a hoard of minions. Every fight between the Justice League and Darkside felt uninspired, as if the creative team just stopped caring, and the final battle is just a repetitive slog of trying to get him in a boom tube only for him to escape and do it over again. One fight, between Superman, Batman and Green Lantern seemed to take more than a few cues from 2013’s underwhelming “Man of Steel”. With that kind of inspiration and the lackluster battles, it almost feels like the creative team didn’t want to make an action movie.
So maybe they were shooting for something more along the lines of 2012’s “The Avengers”, where half the fun of the movie is watching how the characters interact with each other. The banter between Batman and Green Lantern (here the comedy relief character) seems to point in that direction, and it is always a good way to go for team up stories. However, if that was the idea the creative team failed so miserably I can’t see why they were allowed to release this. Almost every voice actor seems wrong for their part, save for Alan Tudyk as Superman and Shemar Moore as Cyborg. Darkside’s voice is also impressive, but there are so many vocal effects at work that I can’t tell how much of it had to do with Steve Blum’s performance.
The worst offender by far is Michelle Monaghan as Wonder Woman. I want to blame the script and director (Jay Oliva) for how stupid Wonder Woman seemed (no, not naïve, not lost in the modern world, just plain stupid) but her voice was so wrong for the character that the simple fact that she agreed to do the job means I have to hold her as accountable as either the writer or Oliva. Sure, she is strong, and sure her fights are the best in the movie, but she goes from being a political envoy to battle loving “warrior” (lunatic) for seemingly no reason. Sure, Paradise Island is removed from the modern world, and yes, they are warriors, but even they wouldn’t send a political ambassador who would simply skip their meeting with the president because they got bored waiting for him. Hell, Diana is a Princess, she should know better political etiquette than that. But no, in this film she just another war loving moron. If a one note power house of a characters is your idea of a “strong female character” then you might love her, but I found her lack of depth…disappointing, to say the lest. And sure, I could talk about how Superman is a snob, how batman takes off his cowl to talk to Green Lantern and all the other dumb character changes that were made, but really, I don’t think I have to go on to make my point.
The Fact is, this in not the fresh start the Justice League needed, this is not a film worthy of Warner Brothers animation and it is most definitely not a movie worth your time.