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Cakes Takes on Justice League vs Teen Titans (Movie Review) (2016)

Caila went to Meremac-STL for journalism and has been writing for most of her life.

The Justice League vs The Teen Titans

The promotional poster and image for the movie

The promotional poster and image for the movie

DC Animation

While the DC Cinematic Extended Universe cannot get a leg up over the Marvel Cinematic Universe, they have ALWAYS had their number when it came to their cartoons. Whether it be cartoon TV shows or the movies, DC Animation has always been superior and their stories have always been told very well. They capsule being dark and being funny very well, which is something the DC Cinematic Universe could take a lesson from. Their stories are told in a concise and short amount of time of about an hour and a half and can still tell a better story than the movies can within two to four hours. It is very much appreciated that they can tell stories that are quick, yet feel fleshed out so that you know and understand the characters.

The New Lineup

The new team

The new team

New Places, New Faces

The story is set in a DC Universe that I am not overly familiar with. It has updated versions of the same characters that we know and love for my generation and they have added some of everyone into this film. This movie is an origin story in a way for the characters that are not established in this universe yet. We meet a different version of the Raven that we know from the old Teen Titans cartoon and a new Robin in Damien Wayne. While still seeing some of the old characters from that same cartoon, simply grown up, like Starfire, who now leads the Titans, the old Robin, Dick Grayson, is now Nightwing, and Cyborg is now with the Justice League!

However different from my norm that I am used to, these heroes do stick to their characterizations very well and embody who I know them to be. Starfire is still sweet and she and Dick still like one another in a way, which was sweet to see that relationship on screen once again. Damien Wayne, the new Robin, is a typical "can't tell me anything" angsty teenager, who thinks he knows better than everyone, which is not so far off from his old Teen Titans tv show counterpart. He disobeys Batman's orders whenever he can on the mission they are on at the start of the film, thus leading to him being put on a smaller team with of heroes his age. This is where the movie gets nostalgic for me because it makes me miss the old Teen Titans cartoon and their dynamics in their group.

This version of the Teen Titans is cool because it balances the old heroes with the new, but it is a bit weird and confusing, as they are all different ages on the team. Starfire, Nightwing, and Cyborg are not teens anymore so this leads to more questions for me than anything. Like how are Raven and Beast Boy still kids? When did Blue Beetle get on the team and where did he come from? Makes me wonder if I missed a movie before this one that possibly explained all of it.

Superhero Pose

cakes-takes-on-justice-league-vs-teen-titans-movie-review-2016

Connections

The movie does have similar notes taken from the old Teen Titans. Robin is still a sort of tortured soul but can still show empathy even through his hardened exterior that he puts on when he is first introduced to the team. He is constantly angry, and we as the viewer, can sympathize with his past, if you know comics and Damien's storyline throughout comics, which they dabble into in this film a bit. Raven is still a demon spawn from the depths of Hell that was created in hopes of taking over the universe by her father. She has always been the key to Trigon being set free and to reaching her power's full potential and is also another tortured soul. This was something that always made her character interesting to me in the OG Teen Titans show. She and Robin have always bonded through trauma alone, whether it be a friendship or in this case, love. Trigon was always a part of Raven's storyline and has always been a GREAT villain for the Titans. Now he is a good villain for the Justice League as well!

While growing the team bond, Damien and Raven hit it off, while he tries to fight the feelings, he ends up coming off more like his father (Bruce Wayne) than he wants to know or admit. Although this comes off as if it will be Robin's story, this movie is mostly about Raven and her origins. I think it was an amazing idea to focus the plot mostly on Raven for this film! She has one of the most interesting and consistent backstories throughout the DC Universe/DC Animation and her problems always leak out into her personal life and her connections with humans, constantly making her feel out of place, which is something Robin can relate to. It almost begs the question if she and Robin would've had a better relationship than Robin and Starfire did in the original show honestly. It's amazing the connection between Damien and Raven because they actually have a lot in common and understand one another.

Another question that begs to be answered is if the Teen Titans sometimes have better/stronger villains than the Justice League? The action was a hit for this film and really made Trigon feel like a BIG BAD!!! Even the Justice League alone was no match for him and they knew it! Raven really was the only one to be able to do anything about him, which made me honestly feel like she is one of strongest characters in the DC Universe with her powers over dark magic. The film lived up to its origin plot at the end, showing how Raven got the jewel in the center of her head and how she and her father, Trigon, are both equally always in turmoil. With her constantly fighting to keep him caged away and out of her thoughts and him always trying to get out of the chains of her mind.

My Final Thoughts...

This movie really did make me want to revisit these characters again. I am very glad I watched this film. This is honestly how they should have filmed the storylines for the DCEU movies. These cartoon characters have more life and human elements than their live action counterparts do, which is sad. The movie made me nostalgic for old times and things I've seen in the past, and made me feel hopeful for DC Animation, as I still want to watch more of these DC cartoon films! The animation is brutal, yet beautiful! They are all really good and I have yet to come across a bad one or one that did not capture my full attention. I love the new characters, especially Damien. He is such a good character and has an amazing storyline so far, as he is attached to not only the Teen Titans, but also to Batman and the Justice League! These stories are also all connected within this set universe, so I will be going over another film that seems like it connects to this film afterwards in the timeline.

Justice League vs Teen Titans DC Animation Poll!!!

This movie is a DIAMOND!!!

Where You Can Watch...

  • HBO Max
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