I never really cared for the 2003 Teen Titans animated series because, honestly, I thought it was too silly for me. It had this weird anime style that would move from ultra-serious designs and then abruptly shift into more chibi-styled art to emphasize the comedic elements. I find this weird because I actually like Teen Titans Go! and what they were going for, which is a silly version of the 2003 cartoon. But, as much as I like the humor of Teen Titans Go!, I don’t watch it religiously. I just watch it on YouTube when it pops into my feed. I never actively seek it out.
Teen Titans Go! vs. Teen Titans, on the other hand, is another story. It’s the latest DC Animated Movie that’s just come out and I was looking forward to it because I know it was going to be a insane tribute to both shows. I just finished watching it and, while I will say it was good, there was just something missing.
Even though Teen Titans Go! vs. Teen Titans is supposed to be this one-off film that’s more goofy than anything else, there are a good number of tributes to DC’s history and Easter Eggs throughout the film’s 77-minute runtime. So, this will still be a SPOILER FREE review.
Now, as this is a SPOILER FREE review, I can’t really talk much about the overall plot as that’s part of the fun. The trailers do spoil a lot of what happens in Teen Titans Go! vs. Teen Titans but I won’t do the same thing. This does put me in a bind as I can’t summarize the story. Let’s just say this: “The Teen Titans from the 2003 series meet up with the Teen Titans Go! group. Hilarity ensues.” Yep. That pretty much sums it up.
Despite the more “serious” Teen Titans appearing in the movie, this is still a Teen Titans Go! movie, so fans of the 2003 series may be disappointed that their Teen Titans take a backseat to the Go! versions. In fact, I will say that everyone here do act more like the characters from the Teen Titans Go! universe. They do have a semblance of their original personalities but just seem to get sucked into the childishness of the Go! series a little too much.
That will give fans of the original series a lot to complain about but for me, I kind of appreciated that they jumped right into the ridiculousness. I do wish the film was a little more balanced in tone, though, and it was more balanced with the seriousness when it was just focused on the 2003 Titans.
The silliness of the 2003 Teen Titans doesn’t stop there because they don’t really look like the original cartoon. Oh, they copy the original designs for the most part, but there’s something about the way they move and how they’re colored that makes them look weird. You can tell that they were put into the film using the Teen Titans Go! animators. That’s not a bad thing in itself but, since they don’t look like the original versions, it makes it hard to believe that they are the original 2003 Teen Titans returning to the animated world.
Speaking of the animation, I will say that DC and Warner Bros. did a good job here. Not because it’s animated well, but because things flow together nicely. It still looks and feels like a glorified Teen Titans Go! animated feature so you can expect some jumpy cuts. But they do make the most of it. In fact, I was incredibly impressed by the action scenes. While they’re generally silly and stupid, there is this epicness to them that just there.
I will also have to give credit to the voice acting here. Since the 2003 and the Go! versions of the Teen Titans are being voiced by their original actors, they have to play double duty here. They do a really good job here as there are little nuances with the delivery between both versions. The changes are more prominent for some characters, like Cyborg and Robin, while somewhat negligible for the others. Still, I have to commend them for making those little voice changes.
Most of the humor works as well, but you do need some knowledge of both the comics and the DC Animated outings or these jokes and Easter Eggs will fly over your head. The movie also makes fun of superhero movie tropes that are not exclusively made by Warner Bros or DC. If you watch a lot of superhero films, you should be able to get most of them. I will say, as someone who is more than just familiar with superhero comics and films, I laughed out loud at some of the gags. The mid-credits scene was something that got a good belly laugh out of me, even though I saw it coming from a mile away.
As much as I really like Teen Titans Go! vs. Teen Titans, I was hoping for a better mishmash of both universes here. This is strongly a Teen Titans Go! movie with the original Teen Titans thrown in. While it’s executed very well, I can’t help but be reminded of the 2009 animated movie Turtles Forever, which did a much better job of meshing the 1987 and 2003 versions of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles into one movie.
Turtles Forever did an incredible job of getting the tone for both versions of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The original 1987 version were still goofballs but still somehow held their own for the most part with the more serious 2003 version of themselves. Turtles Forever didn’t have to sacrifice their characterizations like Teen Titans Go! vs. Teen Titans did. I was kind of disappointed that the folks at DC didn’t take the original Teen Titans more seriously as they do have a substantial fanbase and making them sillier than they were would definitely irk them.
Even if Teen Titans Go! vs. Teen Titans wasn’t as impressive as Turtles Forever, this new DC Animated outing was still a blast to watch because of the humor and references. You might say there’s some bias as I don’t have any love for the original Teen Titans animated show and you’d be partially right. I do generally like Teen Titans Go! a lot more than the 2003 version but I would have still called out the movie if it were a waste of my time. I got a good chuckle or two and the action scenes were surprisingly good. So I will say I enjoyed myself but fans of the original Teen Titans should stay away. Despite it being good, they will still hate it with a passion.
Have you seen Teen Titan Go! vs. Teen Titans? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments section below!