Caila went to Meremac-STL for journalism and has been writing for most of her life.
From TV to Movies
This movie reminded me of the same storyline for the Teen Titans animated TV Show. We see the origins of a few characters and why they are the way that they are. These are the same characters from the same universe that we've been visiting for the past few DCAMU movies, so that was good to see. The movie centers around Terra, who is a new Titan, with abilities to manipulate rocks, earth and soil to her will. Although she is a new team member, I remembered her character from the cartoon back in the day and I've never like her. Not ever. There is already enough cocky people on the team who overvalue themselves as it was, we did not need another.
Starfire, Blue Beetle and Terra's backstories are all being told within one cohesive storyline, which is good to see. Some team up movies can get a bit confusing at times and it is good to see them weave a storyline together so easily between a full team. The DCAMU is more so for adults and teen adults, as there is a lot of adult humor and insinuations in the movie to be laughed at. What the Teen Titans did in a multitude of episodes took this film, an hour and a half to do, which is very welcomed for its short time frame, but admirable because of how good the story flowed together.
The Judas Contract
Brother Blood, is very different in his looks from his old TV show counterpart, although his MO is still the same. To attain youthfulness and rule the world with powers from superheroes. His HIVE (an evil organization) is a bit different from the one in the show, but that does not make it better or worse than the show's. He hires Deathstroke to rally the Teen Titans so that he can steal their powers and use them for himself. Deathstroke does this by manipulating Terra's wishes for a home and romantic relationship against her to infiltrate the team, gain their trust and eventually lure them into a false sense of security until the time is right. I can say that I was very excited to see Slade Wilson! He is such a good character! He always gave the team a run for their money in fights with his tremendous tactician skills, and gave them some of their better storylines in the old show, especially with Dick Grayson's Robin.
Terra's backstory in this movie is so depressing! She was cast out by her family and neighborhood and attacked as if she was a witch in the Salem Witch Trials, and fled with Slade, who saved her at the time when she couldn't fully control her powers. Although mostly the same, I think Slade and Terra's story in the old show was more effective because for the most part we, as an audience, did not know she was being used! We trusted her on the team as the Titans did. So to see her being OBVIOUSLY misused and abused emotionally by Slade for his own fortune was upsetting to see. Something else that was brought back into play from the old show was Deathstroke's beef with Robin! No matter the Robin, Slade will always hate him and try to mentally rip him apart before trying to kill him. Even beyond being brought back by the Lazarus Pit, he still has a score to settle with Robin. However, we do finally get to see why he was so angry with Robin this entire time! I can say that I thought it would be something petty, but this is what makes a good villain.
When a villain has a good motivation and you can see their side of the story, whether agreeing with it or not, it makes the villain better! Slade feels that his family and position in Ra's Al Ghul's League of Assassin's were lost due to Robin's conception and birth by Talia and Bruce Wayne. To which, I understood where he was coming from, even if I don't like the answer to his motivation. Now we see how and why Deathstroke could hold such a grudge against Robin for his whole life! It's a really cool connection to both of their backstories that we never really got in the old TV show. I always just thought he got his kicks off by mentally torturing Robin. This, in turn, makes for a complex character in, not only Deathstroke, but also Terra, as she is being manipulated and played by someone who doesn't care about her at all, while being promised the world. You can't FULLY hate her like you want to.
When Beast Boy and Terra's relationship starts to get closer and she begins to actually start to like him, her character gets more complex still! This also makes her character a bit more annoying because she's CLEARLY being manipulated. Slade doesn't even have to be good at manipulation because she wants to believe him so badly because he raised her and now she has romantic feelings for him. Slade, however, is all about his money! He is focused solely on his mission and wants her to be, also. He actually succeeds at separating the Titans, fighting off Nightwing and Robin, and getting them to Brother Blood for his villainous schemes! Slade does this with ease, as well! They get legitimately hurt by him and it's rough to watch!
Everything comes to a head at the end and the Titans are now faced with their doom as Brother Blood drains some of their powers for his own. Terra finds out that she was being molded into a helper this entire time and is irate with Slade for what he has done and feels bad with herself for what she has done to the Titans as they have gone out of their way to be closer with and understand her for the past few weeks. She destroys Brother Blood and Deathstroke with the best of her abilities and leaves the cave they are in crashing in around them all.
Beast Boy tries to save Terra, but can't, and she doesn't even want to be saved really, as I do not think she can handle how her life has turned out to be one big lie and she has been forced to do things that she probably did not want to do. Their story even in the TV show was always a tragic love story. Beast Boy always had feelings for her and wanted to show her that she was normal to him and the team and couldn't hurt them, as well as get her to figure her powers out through training so she wouldn't hurt them. He just wanted to help her and never can. Her destiny is always the same. A tortured soul waiting for sweet release really.
The Teen Titans
My Final Thoughts...
I think that this movie filled in a load of gaps that the TV show did not, but could have. It was a really good iteration of the storyline that old fans already knew of, but had no backstory to. It did a great job of painting the team as normal people with flaws and problems to get over, while portraying them as very strong heroes as well! Honestly, sometimes I do not know why the DCAMU is not the DCEU and being shown on the big screen because these stories are better than the one's that they are telling in the movie theater. They're shorter and more concise, but they still find a way to flesh a character out more than the DCEU does in a two to four hour movie! I do not think that people would jump out of their seat to watch an animated film, but if people found out how great these films were, I think the true fans would go see these multiple times! The DCAMU stands tall again and really makes me want to start at the beginning of this universe's storyline and watch all the movies so I can connect their universe's plots as a whole! This film was great!
Teen Titans: The Judas Contract (Animated Movie Review), (2017)
This movie is..... A DIAMOND!!!
Where You Can Watch...
- HBO Max
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