Based on the hit Cartoon Network show Teen Titans Go! the feature-length film Teen Titans Go! to the Movies follows Robin’s quest to end his inferiority to the other superheroes as a marginalized sidekick. His desire to have his name and story brought to life with its own movie. Dragging his fellow Titans into the plan with him, Robin sets out to do whatever it takes to get a movie made, even if it means going back in time and destroying the origins of the superheroes of the Justice League.
After experiencing ridicule from the superheroes amassed in the theater for another film about Batman, creatively titled Batman Again, Robin snaps. The Titans have just taken down Balloon Man and no one gives them any credit. He’s sure he’ll never get a movie made about him, even though movies about Alfred, the Batmobile, and Batman’s utility belt are all coming soon. When he realizes that famous filmmaker Jade Wilson (Kristen Bell) will make a film about him if he has a nemesis, he enters into battle with Slade Wilson (Will Arnett).
Fans of the television show will dig the extended look, and older fans/parents will appreciate some of the voices that they hear in the bigger version. Nicholas Cage voices Superman – a role ironically he’s always wanted but has aged out of; somehow, it makes it ironic and bittersweet that he does so here. Jimmy Kimmel is Batman, Whil Wheaton is Flash, and Patton Oswalt is Atom; musicians Halsey and Lil Yachty voice Wonder Woman and Green Lantern, complete with digs about the Ryan Reynolds bomb. It’s the gentle give and take of the comedy layered in and through the film that make it even better than the show – whether they’re roasting Shia LaBeouf, ridiculing the parenting done by Superman’s late parents, or the way DC and Marvel used Deadpool/Deathstroke when they’re basically the same people.
The film is clever and entertaining, and I only had one quibble – while the show seems to be truly team-oriented, this one focuses almost solely on Robin. The message of the film is ultimately about team and community, but the narrative structure marginalized Cyborg, Beast Boy, Starfire, and Raven. In the end, the film – and their story – is so much better when they’re in it together!
On the Teen Titans Blu-ray, there are a half-dozen plusses to add to the fun. Features on the “WB Lot Shenanigans,” the DC Super Hero Girls Short “The Late Batsby” singalong with Silkie, and “Red Carpet Mayhem” join the Lil Yachty Music Video for “Teen Titans GO! Rap.”