No corner of superhero cinema is safe from the sarcastic quips of “Teen Titans Go! To the Movies.”
How silly is it that the animated, never-to-be-taken-seriously laughfest that is Cartoon Network’s “Teen Titans Go!” turns out to be one of Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment’s best efforts in the “Justice League” era?
That’s an era the Teen Titans aren’t officially connected to but have no problem making fun of for an hour and a half while reminding us you can never have enough Batman movies.
The film’s plot stems from its biggest joke, which is that superhero movies have become such a big deal that you’re not really a big-time superhero unless you’ve had a movie made about you.
That sends the Titans, led by Robin the Boy Wonder, on a quest to Hollywood to get their adventures on the big screen.
But Hollywood, and the cooler superheroes with their own flicks, don’t think the Titans are ready for the bright lights of Tinseltown, citing the youngsters’ obsession with eating and singing about it and inability to take down a monster made of balloons without making a fart joke.
Superman is one of the biggest critics of the Titans’ childlike behavior, with the joke being that he’s voiced by none other than Nicolas Cage. Because any superhero movie historian will tell you how close Cage came to making his own ’90s Superman movie directed by Tim Burton. A movie that, if made, could have done as much damage to the space-time continuum to equal George Clooney’s “Batman and Robin” times 10, and made sure no Hollywood producer ever read a comic book again. That’s how funny “Teen Titans Go! To the Movies” is. They were able to get Nicolas Cage to be Superman, despite how dangerous it was.
The biggest concern for the Titans’ Hollywood hopes? They have no major supervillain, pointed out to them by a star movie director (Kristen Bell), a must-have recruit if you’re going to have a superhero movie made about your team. That’s where Slade (voiced by “Lego Batman’s” Will Arnett) comes in, using his powers of mind manipulation, such as making a pencil look like it can wiggle and saying “Oooh look!” when he knows there’s really nothing to look at. If you’re wondering why they didn’t just call Slade “Deathstroke” like in the comics, that’s another joke in the movie that we won’t ruin.
The Titans go after Slade furiously, determined to gain an arch nemesis, busting some seriously dope rhymes along the way. Yes, if you thought this franchise’s knack for singing songs and sick beats wasn’t going to make it into their movie, well, you haven’t been paying attention. Those songs are performed by an extremely talented and hilarious voice cast (featuring Scott Menville as Robin, Tara Strong as Raven, Khary Payton as Cyborg, Hynden Walch as Starfire and Greg Cipes as Beast Boy) and are highlighted by Robin’s trademark and always uncalled-for booty-shaking. You’ll likely be humming along by the movie’s end, and if you’ve got children, expect them to ask you to stream the songs again on the car ride home.
In a genre of film that can try too hard at times (and, yes, there are “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” jokes to be had in this movie, and of course the name Martha is involved), there is absolutely no intolerable grittiness to bear in “Teen Titans Go! To the Movies.” This movie is a refreshing break from the live-action superhero universe-building crossover madness of Hollywood. Even if you enjoy that madness (and many of us do), it’s nice to take a break and laugh at yourself about the intensity of it all.
“Teen Titans Go! To the Movies” is a laugh-a-minute ride that hits you with the jokes from the very first frame. From the cute shots at Marvel Studios to the self-deprecating tone on the state of DC movies, you’ll leave the theater with a new set of superhero abs from laughing so hard.
As long as you don’t take yourself, and superheroes, too seriously.