(Warning: The following review may contain a few minor spoilers, but let’s be fair; if you’re a Teen Titans Go! fan you’re going to enjoy the movie anyway.)
I’m going to be honest – I loathed Teen Titans Go! when it first came out.
Perhaps it was the chaotic nature of the show, with its random plots, nonsensical action, and bathroom humor. I was never a fan of shows like that, from SpongeBob SquarePants to Ren & Stimpy; I like silly, but I prefer something that doesn’t feel like a psychotherapist’s case study (or nightmare).
Maybe chaotic wasn’t the problem but what soured the show was the shift from a great superhero serial to this comedic nonsense. It’s one thing to come up with a show of random silliness; it’s another to cancel an excellent series and then Frankenstein it into a monster.
I have two small children, however, so Teen Titans Go! was on our television. Constantly. Everlasting.
So, I came to accept the comedy and haphazard activity of the show, if not appreciate it. I even found some episodes I enjoyed and the sounds of Puffy AmiYumi became a staple in our house.
When I learned there was a movie, I knew it was inevitable I would have to go. My 6-year-old son would have it no other way; Teen Titans Go! was his Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Like the show, the movie is chaotic – a never-ending stream-of-consciousness that appeals to young minds. The film has a central plot, but the points that tie it together as random, shifting themes from bathroom humor to 80’s spoofs to over-the-top action.
Sadly, the weakest part of the film is this central plot, as I don’t think Teen Titans Go! works with one; at least, not one that lasts longer than a 20-minute episode. The pacing was off as they tried to tie what were mainly vignettes together into a coherent story.
That the inconsistent pacing is my primary critique is shocking, both to myself and people who thought the movie would be awful. Teen Titans Go! to the Movies turned out to be a fun, and hilarious, experience.
My first praise is that it precisely does what the television series does: keeps the children entertained. My son was enchanted throughout the entire movie, even during the slow parts, and that’s something not even Disney has solved.
Much of this fascination stems from the juvenile fart and poop jokes, butt shaking, and wild antics. When I asked my son, however, what he loved most? He said, “The music.”
Teen Titans Go! is known for its wacky songs, often homages (or spoofs) of 80’s music and the film is no different. From inspirational songs to silly raps, the movie has everything a child (and those of us who grew up during that era) could want.
My other praise is that this film targets the parents (and other adults) who see this movie. Not just in the 80’s songs, but also in various references to pop culture and superheroes.
The film contains so many DC characters; even if they’re just background characters, I couldn’t take them all in. From the main Justice League to more obscure heroes, it was almost a game trying to name each one.
Similarly, the entire film is a spoof of the superhero movie craze occurring right now; the writers take jabs at both DC’s own films as well as crossing over into Marvel and indie territory. There are jokes that only a comic nerd would understand, and even the voice actors are direct references to superhero film history.
I will warn about one more adult thing: although the humor is silly and chaotic, this movie has no chill. There are some jokes that children may laugh at, but parents will wonder if they crossed a line (even as they laugh as well).
Altogether, Teen Titans Go! to the Movies turned out better than I expected; I might even recommend it to people who aren’t fans of the show, just because it humor reaches beyond into further realms of geekdom.
Although the pacing struggles at points, trying to tie together a series of random scenes into a 90-minute movie, they somehow create something coherent. Also, while the comedy does enter some dark territory, both adults and kids will be laughing.
If anything, it was a fun hour-and-a-half spent with my son, whose eyes never left the screen.
I give Teen Titans Go! to the Movies a hilarious 4 archnemeses out of 5.
Thanks to Allied for the screening passes.