Listen, if you know anything about Teen Titans Go! you probably know exactly what you’re getting into for Teen Titans Go! To The Movies and really that’s probably all you need to know here. If you’re a fan of the show’s brand of humor, the movie will have you in stitches — if you’re a classic Teen Titans loyalist, it probably won’t be as endearing. But that’s okay. At the end of the day Teen Titans Go! To The Movie knows exactly what it is, and exactly who it’s for.
There’s obviously a bit more plot in play for a full 90-minute movie versus the traditional Teen Titans Go! short. It’s still as packed with fart jokes and absurdism as the original, but this time we’ve actually got a three act structure to work in. It goes like this: the world is full of superhero movies, but Robin, reimagined in the Go! Universe as a type-A control freak, has yet to be featured in any of Batman’s features. Full of ennui and desperation, he sets out to earn himself a movie of his own — which, of course, only winds up catching him in a super villain scheme to take over the planet with a mind controlling streaming service.
You know, the usual.
And, look, as a fan of Robin who has spent more than a few sleep deprived days passionately stating her case about the validity — the necessity even — of a Boy Wonder focused feature film? It was hard to not feel at least a little bit called out by this particular train of thought. Sure, the movie is making fun of the idea and about Robin going off on his own, but still.
Thankfully, it’s not all kids humor and “keep the toddlers interested” color splashes. There are probably more comic book jokes and Easter eggs per capita in this one than there are in any of the MCU or DCEU films combined. At one point, there’s a giant poster for an upcoming Jonah Hex movie where he’s played by a T-Rex called (surprise!) Jonah Rex. A trailer plays for an Alfred-centric spin-off that is “coming broom” rather than “coming soon.” Every crowd scene is populated with DC Universe deep cuts — the Challengers of the Unknown even feature prominently in a repeated gag. Each punchline about superhero fan culture and the live action movie bubble is pulled right from real life social media.
Essentially, it’s a version of the Deadpool franchise made to be kid friendly, but maybe even more aimed at reference-loving adult supernerds than the Merc with a Mouth could ever hope for. There are musical montages, fourth wall breaks, Marvel shout outs — you name it. Virtually everything seemed to be fair game here.
Of course it’s tricky to really critique the story for the sake of the story. Teen Titans Go! isn’t all that interested in developing out characters beyond their requisite over-the-top tropes, the villain. Slade (aka Deathstroke, though he’s never given that name here), is as hokey as you might expect.
Not every punchline lands. But at the end of the day? That’s more than alright. Teen Titans Go! To The Movies is a kids movie that is inviting adults to be in on the gag, not the other way around. The first concern is whether or not kids are going to get it, like it, and laugh about it — the fact that the grown ups in the audience can laugh along and stay relatively engaged in the story is really just icing on the cake.
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