After years of building its universe, the Arrowverse is suddenly going to make way for another DC Comics television universe. Starting with Titans on the DC Universe streaming service, Green Arrow and Flash are suddenly competing against the Teen Titans themselves. Make no mistake, though, these are not the same Teen Titans people known from Cartoon Network, they are dangerous, hardcore, and aren't afraid to get down to it. While people were concerned about Titans perpetuating the “dark and gritty” trend of live-action DC adaptations, the show has been a decent success. At the very least, it knows that it's dark and uses it to its own merit rather than being dark just for the sake of it (we're looking at you Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice). With its different approach in storytelling, it's interesting to see how it contrasts to the Arrowverse. Made for generally younger audiences, shows like Arrow, The Flash, and Legends of Tomorrow are a bit more colorful and embrace the more whimsical side of comics.
With these different approaches, though, we're wondering how the Arrowverse and Titans stack up against each other. It's a bit difficult to compare four different series to one new series, so we're going to keep the points as general as possible as they relate to the Arrowverse. Without further ado, we're looking at 10 Reasons Arrowverse Is Better Than Titans (And 10 Why It's Worse).
20 BETTER: WACKIER CONCEPTS
While the Arrowverse started out on a similar foot to Titans, each show has gradually embraced the wackier ideas that the comics offered. Just the existence of shows like The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow show how far the universe has come since its earlier days.
Adding things like alien invasions, an entire show based around time travel, and some of the weirdest campy villains known to superhero fans, the Arrowverse has some wacky stuff. Titans is a bit more reserved in this aspect, preferring to keep things closer to the chest and grounded in reality, which is similar to the style of The Dark Knight.
19 WORSE: FORBIDDEN USE OF ICONIC CHARACTERS
The rules of who the Arrowverse can use and who it can't are a bit inconsistent. While Supergirl ran its entire first season without so much as casting an actor for Superman, that all changed in season two. However, the Arrowverse is now including Batwoman, along with Gotham City in its ranks, while still not being able to use Batman in any way.
Meanwhile, Titans doesn't operate with these restrictions. It seems that every character the show wants to use is there in full form, whether it be the Batman, Jason Todd, or Donna Troy. Good luck ever getting The Caped Crusader alongside Green Arrow.
18 BETTER: SENSE OF HUMOR
Humor is a big topic when it comes to superhero movies and shows, and the MCU has certainly gone over the top with its jokes, leading some to have a general distaste for the franchise altogether. It's important for writers to strike a balance between comedy and serious moments, which is something the Arrowverse has understood after a while.
Sure, the serious moments come off as corny many times, but they're committing to it at the very least. Titans, for the most part, seems fairly devoid of humor, as it embraces its darker tone. The show tries to have a few jokes, but they almost feel forced and out of place.
17 WORSE: SHIES FROM VIOLENCE
While Titans has been criticized for its edgier take on the DC Comics lore, it does lead to some interesting moments. Say what you will about the interpretation of Robin, but there's something cathartic about the way the show portrays action. Everything is raw and grounded, and it's a bit more violent than Daredevil, but the visceral action does make a point. It's the writers committing to their vision, and it also makes for some exciting and memorable scenes.
The violence also has story relevance, with Dick Grayson trying to find his own path while living in the shadow of his old mentor. The Arrowverse's levels of violence are much tamer, and the camera happily shies away from most of it.
16 BETTER: LOVE FOR THE COMICS
Titans is rooted in deep DC Comics lore, but it takes a lot of creative liberties when adapting those stories to the small screen. The Arrowverse, on the other hand, has a clear love and appreciation for the source material, properly homaging the stories that created those characters in the first place.
Whether it be Barry Allen's fight against the Reverse Flash, Citizen Steel's bright costume, or even the presence of characters like Deathstroke, the Arrowverse celebrates the comics in ways that Titans doesn't. Even with crossovers like “Elseworlds,” it's clear that the writers are passionate about the material, whereas Titans seems to want its own direction entirely.
15 WORSE: DIRECTIONLESS AT TIMES
There's a key problem with having a series of shows go on for as long as they have, and that's direction. Writers have to come up with arcs for the same characters each season with varied results. Looking at the Arrowverse in this way, it's clear that the writers haven't always known what to do with their bunch of heroes.
Because of this, many of the shows feel directionless, are without any serious story reasons, and feel like they're only continuing because they're popular. Titans, on the other hand, for its ominous tone and elements, seems to have a clear idea of where it's going forward: building toward the formation of the Teen Titans.
14 BETTER: ESTABLISHED UNIVERSE
Titans has yet to prove itself as the launching point for a universe that includes the Doom Patrol and Swamp Thing. Because of this, it's hard to get totally invested in a universe that doesn't have its legs. The Arrowverse, on the other hand, is an established and successful universe of TV shows.
There's no fear with getting invested in Arrow and Supergirl because those shows seem to have a long life ahead of them. After the “Elseworlds” crossover ended, next year's crossover has already been confirmed to be “Crisis on Infinite Earths.” Those shows can all reference each other and work together because the leg work has already been done to establish the universe.
13 WORSE: GRATUITOUS REFERENCES
The Arrowverse doesn't have access to a lot of DC's most popular characters, but that hasn't stopped them from confirming that they exist in that world somehow. The unfortunate part is that those references go nowhere and just distract from the overall pacing of the shows.
When Arrow was forming its Suicide Squad, they had a tease to Harley Quinn that never came up again. There was also the massive Hall of Justice reference during the Invasion crossover that hasn't had any mention since either. Most of Titans' references, by comparison, are a bit more purposeful. The references to Batman mean something to Robin, while the Doom Patrol is related to Beast Boy.
12 BETTER: NOT TOO DARK
It's one thing to have dark elements in a story, but it's another to have those elements dictate the story. While Titans gets a lot of things right, it's hard not to feel like the dark elements are there simply because DC refuses to let go of The Dark Knight.
Between Robin's classic “Eff Batman” line to criminals getting straight up eliminated, there are so many dark things that at times, it can get distracting. The Arrowverse struggled with this at first, but learned to strike a much more appropriate balance. There are dark things, but the shows are generally more hopeful, with each being tonally appropriate to their characters and stories.
11 WORSE: THE COSTUMES
It's difficult to say whether the costumes in Titans and the Arrowverse are objectively better or worse overall, but there's one thing that Titans has over the competition. With a seemingly larger budget going into its costumes, characters like Robin, Hawk, and Dove have some of the best superhero costumes on the small screen; bar none.
While other costumes do fall flat on their faces, it's easy to appreciate the effort that went into them as opposed to many of the Arrowverse's designs. The majority of them are just differently-colored leather jackets, which becomes more noticeable the more you watch.
10 BETTER: FOCUSED ON ARCS FOR ITS CHARACTERS
With every season of a TV show, characters need to have some sort of development that feels both natural and justifies their presence on screen. Neither the Arrowverse or Titans handles this area particularly well, but the former does understand that the rest of its cast members need chances to shine.
The supporting characters in each of the Arrowverse's shows have their own arcs throughout the seasons, whereas Titans doesn't quite have the same thing. The majority of its time is focused on Robin's development despite its plot centering around Raven and Trigon. Going forward, the show needs to embrace its side characters and give them arcs of their own.
9 WORSE: ACTION CHOREOGRAPHY
The action isn't bad in the Arrowverse shows, but it's not great either. With only one of its shows focusing on characters with no powers, most of them become quick CGI set pieces that are over shortly after they begin. It's a lot of artificial spectacle, but doesn't quite have the punch of a raw, well-choreographed fight scene.
Arrow has featured some astounding action sequences, but Titans seems fully committed to them. With the camera moving around each battle, the fights feel dynamic and intense, featuring all characters moving in each shot. They're punchy and quick, just like a superhero fight should be.
8 BETTER: WORLDBUILDING
When Arrow was introduced, there weren't immediate plans to introduce other shows in the new universe. Because of this, when Barry Allen finally entered the picture, it was a side plot in episodes that focused more on Oliver Queen.
As the Arrowverse built its world, it included effective worldbuilding scenarios that didn't detracted from the main stories of each show. The same isn't quite true for Titans. Giving an entire episode to the Doom Patrol in its first season, it seems that the show is fast-toward an established universe. This might pay off later, but for now, we get gratuitous episodes that don't have much to do with the main cast.
7 WORSE: PLAYS IT SAFE
The main difference between the Arrowverse and Titans relates to their audiences. Anyone flipping through channels can happen upon the latest episode of The Flash, while only the people that want to watch Titans are going to watch Titans.
With its shows on massive networks, the Arrowverse largely has to play things safe and simple with their audience in mind. The shows are fine for families to watch together, but there aren't a lot of risks taken in the long run. Titans, on the other hand, is better equipped and unafraid to take risks. Everything from its change in characters, to the greater violence, and potential portrayal of Batman as a villain communicates that Titans is a game changer.
6 BETTER: MASSIVE CROSSOVERS
The biggest benefit from having an established universe is that big crossovers can happen and it totally feels earned. When an Arrowverse crossover event comes to fruition, people aren't worried about how weird it feels. Instead, they're just wondering when it's going to air.
The Arrowverse can do these big crossovers and have yearly payoffs because it earned the right to do so, but the same can't be said for Titans. It can't do any of these impressive crossovers because it still has to prove its own worth before it can bring Swamp Thing and the Doom Patrol all in the same episode.
5 WORSE: LACKLUSTER CINEMATOGRAPHY
TV shows don't have the same budget or care put into them the way that movies do, so there needs to be adjusted expectations in the cinematography department. That said, the Arrowverse shows (and the rest of the CW shows too) are shot pretty straight, seldom using any interesting camera tricks or angles to frame the action on screen.
While Titans isn't going to win any awards for its cinematography, it at least feels like the people behind the camera were trying to use some interesting angles. Overall, there is just a greater sense of quality to the way that Titans is shot as opposed to the Arrowverse.
4 BETTER: ANTAGONISTS
The Arrowverse has given rise to some of the greatest superhero villains on TV as both Arrow and The Flash opened with strong foes in the form of Malcolm Merlyn and Damien Darhk. Characters like Prometheus, Deathstroke, and Zoom added more fuel to the fire while teams like the Legion of Doom threatened the Legends of Tomorrow.
Understanding that fans like complex villains, the writers have used great antagonists, while the antagonist(s) in Titans have yet to prove their worth. Trigon is given the Lucifer approach from Supernatural, but he has yet to do anything that causes anyone to talk about him.
3 WORSE: BLAND SUPERNATURAL ELEMENTS
Remember when the CW was trying to make Arrow its tie to the supernatural side of the Arrowverse? Those were the dark days. All in all, the Arrowverse hasn't handled its more mystical elements with much grace or tact. Damien Darhk's powers were always a bit odd, Mallus and his followers were ill-explained, and Constantine was the only good thing to come from it, but he was a character that existed in a different show.
Titans, on the other hand, leans into its supernatural elements quite well with Raven as its tether. It also leads to some excellent moments of horror that the Arrowverse would never be allowed to attempt.
2 BETTER: DEVELOPED CHARACTERS
It's a lot of work to watch characters grow and become the people we know them to be today, but that's the satisfying part of seeing a show go on for so long. We've watched Oliver Queen grow since his return from Lian Yu, we've seen how Barry Allen has become a more noble speedster, and with all these developed characters, they already have complex angles and ideas that the shows play around with.
Titans isn't quite the same, yet. Robin is easily its most interesting character, but the show not leaning into the actual “Teen Titans” aspect of its characters, it's hard to get truly invested. Perhaps that will change when the Titans become worthy of their namesake.
1 WORSE: LAME CGI
TV shows are better off when they use CGI sparingly, since, without the help of a massive movie budget, the special effects often feel a bit half-baked, taking people out of what they're watching. The Arrowverse has to use special effects frequently, though, to communicate the powers of their characters, and it's not hard to see that the effects look weak most times, leading to some of the worst CGI on TV.
Likewise, Titans doesn't have the best CGI to date, but it seems more polished than the Arrowverse's. The effects on Donna Troy's lasso add a lot to the action, and with a more sparing use of Beast Boy's powers, it ensures that his “tiger form” looks at least believable.