Friday, 24 August 2018

Teen Titans Go! To The Movies (2018)

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A Titan of a Film

Director: Peter Rida Michail, Aaron Horvath
Running Time: 88 Minutes
Starring: Greg Cipes, Scott Menville, Khary Payton, Tara Strong, Hynden Walch, Will Arnett, Kristen Bell, Nicolas Cage, Jimmy Kimmel, Halsey, Lil Yachty

Expanding from the five season long TV series, Teen Titans Go has been brought to the big-screen thanks to a script by series developers Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic (while Horvath also directs, alongside series producer Peter Rida Michail). When the superhero genre is alive and thriving, one wonders what this can bring to the table. The answer is a self-referential piece of superhero cinema, concocted by people with a clear adoration for the genre.

As all the major superheroes get their own starring movies, Robin (Scott Menville) is disheartened by him and the Teen Titans being the only ones to not get feature films. Desperate to be seen as a hero in his own right, rather than a sidekick, Robin seeks to remedy this by getting an arch-nemesis, and the answer may lie in a maniacal villain, named Deadpool Slade (Will Arnett).

The approach taken here is delivered with a knowingly witty sense of humour, casting a wide net to take aim at Marvel and DC alike in exceptional ways, even going for some pretty deep cuts to poke fun at (Challengers of the Unknown, anyone?). It's quite reminiscent of what the Deadpool series has become famed for, but the potty mouthed, sexual comedy is replaced with a sense of humour that's more child friendly. Yes, fart based humour and a general silliness are apparent, but don't assume it's only to be enjoyed by those whose age are in the single digits. It goes to some astonishingly dark places to deliver some pretty phenomenal gags, and manages to deliver a final line which may just make you spit out your drink.

What's also worth nothing is how, at the core of these jokes it's a heartfelt tale between friends. As Robin strives to make his dream a reality, his team do whatever they can to help him achieve this goal. Considering the cast have been voicing these characters for 15 years, it's no surprise how clearly settled they are in these roles. It's a joy to finally have Nicolas Cage playing Superman in some form, but Will Arnett is the standout cast member, selling the villainous nature of Slade as easily as he does the comedic timing.

A knowingly witty entry crafted by people with clear love for the genre, Teen Titans Go! To The Movies is a joy from beginning to end. It may skew to a younger audience, but it carries such bite and well crafted gags to be enjoyed by audiences of all ages.

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