Contrary to most movies, ‘Justice League vs. Teen Titans’ wastes no time in setting up the overarching story.
This exploitation of the Justice League and the Legion of Doom’s fight to set up the rise of Trigon is not only smart, it also does a remarkable job in capturing the audience’s attention. While there is little backstory provided on the Legion of Doom relative to the League who made their introduction in “Justice League War”, making use of Lex Luthor, Weather Wizard, Cheetah, Grundy and Toy Master negated this need due to the shear popularity of these characters whose origins have been explored in detail in other live-action and animated shows.
With the introduction of the Teen Titans to the DCAOM, the universe expands to new territory. Having this group of Teens instead of the ones we group up watching in the cartoon show or the ones in the New 52 Teen Titans series allowed them to tell a story of their own without having DC-fanatics (no shade) be all mad about comic-book origins and all that. The dialogue is exceptionally written in the sense that those one-liner’s explaining the origins were short but very much sufficient to establish their powers and identity. However, throughout the movie, there is one character that I didn’t particularly like and that’s Raven. Personally, I did not like the voice acting for this phenomenal character. Given her position in this movie, I felt her dialogue should have had more heart while maintaining that air of mystery and loneliness that makes Raven. Even her spells didn’t have the impact that they should have. The other characters of the Titans were very much pleasant to watch and listen to – especially beastboy.
Halfway through the movie, we get to see two very strong scenes. The first of which is Raven’s dark origin. No animated movie or show has ever detailed it to such an extent till now, given how messed up it is. Secondly, the confrontation of Damian and Batman, though already seen in the trailer, is one of the most heart wrenching scenes in the movie. Warner Brothers proved once again that they aren’t just capable of animating the best action sequences in the business, but also able to craft a beautiful script that will resonate in any viewer. What was further captivating was how the writing for these members of the Justice League as well as Nightwing and Damian Wayne stayed true to their nature which it is by far one of the highlights of the movie even though they aren’t the main focus of the story.
Starfire has been one of the most consistent character throughout this movie. Being the bridge between the League and the Titans, she is put in the middle of this conflict. Given that this is Starfire’s debut to the new DCAOM, the movie manages to structure her development sufficiently well and I certainly would like to see a more detailed story about her origins and history with Nightwing which has been hinted at.
When the League, possessed by Trigon’s minions, attacked the Titans, I was hoping for an impressive extended fight. However, a part of me felt disappointed. Along with the uninteresting fight, Starfire just looked helpless. Granted this is the League they were up against, I did expect Blue Beetle, Beast Boy as well as Robin to look weak. However, Starfire should not have given her seniority and age. This is the same issue I have with the Titan’s fight against Superman. Given Kal’s speed, there is no reason that Damian should have been able to get that close. It’s the same logic as Flash getting shot. Given Kal’s heighten senses and the distance Damian had to move to hit him, he should definitely be able to avoid the attack. The only plausible explanation is that Kal was resisting Trigon’s control from within and if that’s the case, it made the fight extremely underwhelming.
On the final battle with Trigon, there is unfortunately nothing too interesting about it. A quick comparison to DCEU’s BvS would clearly show where this final fight fails. In each scene and action in BvS, the Trinity always portrayed their innate characteristics which made the battle intense and powerful. However, their battle against Trigon here just looked as though they were blasting him without giving much thought. Even Flash’s sonic punch wasn’t able to make the fight any more interesting.
The final fight with Trigon was greatly sidelined by Robin’s fight with Ra’s al Ghul. Both Raven and Damian sought to break free from their family heritage which allowed for two stories to be simultaneously told. Damian yet again takes center stage like he does in the many Batman Movies that came before this one. Granted that it was marketed as Damian finding a home in another team, I expected a conclusion that showcased this new found unity in the Titans.
Despite its flaws in delivering an entertaining climactic showdown, ‘Justice League vs. Teen Titans’ is an impressive addition to the DCAOM and with that last scene, we see the future of Titans – Terra!
There are some other points that I will like to point out:
- Superman Vs Lex: In the first fight scene, specifically when Superman used his Heat Vison on Lex, his heat vision cut through Lex’s armor without cutting off this arms. That just made no sense. Superman’s Heat Vision always travels in a straight line. There is no way to cut around his arm without Superman moving around Lex.
- Titan’s Transformation Scene: It felt very power ranger like and not in a good way.
- Robin stabbing Trigon’s Minions: When Trigon’s minions attacked the titans in the carnival, Robin stabbed one of them and it exploded. That really made little sense and I can only hypothesize that Robin detonated a bomb in his head.
- Beastboy’s Transformation to the mysterious monster. For viewers who aren’t well versed in him origins and powers, it would be rather confusing.