by Charlotte Harrison
I didn’t think I’d enjoy it quite as much as I did. Based on the promo materials and the trailer, I thought I’d be going to see something fun, albeit light-weighted and unsubstantial. However, whilst the film is light-hearted it doesn’t float away as it’s so well made. It’s clear that the folks behind it know their stuff when it comes to comic books and know exactly how to make the source material target this audience.
It seems like every superhero is getting their own movie these days – except for the Teen Titans. Superman (Nicholas Cage) tells them it’s because they don’t take crime-fighting, or themselves, seriously. A run-in with Balloon Man (Greg Davies) that descends into a musical montage doesn’t exactly help their case… Robin (Scott Menville), the leader of the Titans, takes this particularly badly and endeavours to make their Tinsel Town dreams a reality by harassing producer Jade Wilson (Kristen Bell). When she points out that they’ll never be able to have their own movie if they don’t have a nemesis, they decide Slade (Will Arnett) is the man for the job. But, when things go awry, their friendship and the very core of their team is tested to its very limits.
Comic book fans loved both Deadpool films as they replicated the source material’s fourth wall breaks, had a script that was jam-backed full of meta and self-reflective jokes and wasn’t afraid to take it’s self seriously. In those regards, Deadpool along with its sequel and Teen Titians Go! To The Movies have a lot in common. The main difference is the tone, whereas the former alienates some audience members who feel it is arrogant & smug to the point of frustration, that isn’t the case with the latter. Whilst TTGTM is knowing, poking fun at superhero movies that are currently omnipresent at multiplexes, it does so in a way that can only be viewed as through a perspective that is loving and endearing. Examples of this include Slade discovering ‘the perfect plot device’, the three part gag involving upcoming Batman-related cinema releases, a recurring Stan Lee appearance and the best ‘Martha’ gag that has ever existed. Those are only a few of many, many more.
When the film is funny, it is very funny indeed. And that’s very often indeed. Although the story itself is thin, the components that make it are far more substantial, yet effortless and surprisingly memorable. There’s also a fair few songs in there – ‘Upbeat Inspirational Song About Life’ sung by Michael Bolton as a tiger is my personal favourite – that could easily see some nods during awards season. They’re that well-conceived and constructed.
An extra layer for the comic book nerds amongst the audience are the references that will please massively. Part of the fun is seeing how many familiar/unfamiliar (depending on your viewpoint!) faces you can spot in crowd scenes. Swamp Thing, Jonah Hex and Deadman, Blue Beetle were my personal highlights.
TTGTM is an example of a perfect cinema outing for families this summer. It’s bright, colourful and fun for the kids. The adults in the audience will find the same jokes funny, but will also have an extra layer of appreciation for certain elements. Deadpan, kitsch and surprisingly intelligent fun served with a lovely message about learning to always be yourself, no matter what. Plus ‘Take On Me’ by A-Ha makes an appearance – who doesn’t love that song…?
Teen Titans Go!… To The Movies is out 3rd August