Teen Titans Go! To the Movies (2018) ☆☆☆(3/4): Teen Titans go to Hollywood

To be frank with you, I do not know much about TV animation series “Teen Titans Go!” except that it is based on the DC Comics superhero team of the same name, but I can surely tell you that its movie version, “Teen Titan Go! To the Movies”, is a silly but entertaining animation feature film. While it is mainly driven by lots of gags and jokes, the film works well as a smart, jubilant parody of superhero genre, and the overall result is certainly better than many of recent DC comics movies except, of course, “Wonder Woman” (2017).

During the opening sequence featuring a villain attempting a robbery of massive scale, we are introduced to the five colorful main characters of the film: Robin (voiced by Scott Menville), Beast Boy (voiced by Greg Cipes), Cyborg (voiced by Khary Payton), Raven (voiced by Tara Strong), and Starfire (voiced by Hynden Walch). Eager to prove themselves via their respective superpowers, they willingly fight together against that villain, but, alas, that villain is instantly defeated by other superheroes including Superman (voiced by Nicholas Cage) while they are a little too occupied with presenting themselves via their theme song, and they are certainly disappointed when their efforts are not recognized much in the end.

In spite of having been Batman’s longtime sidekick for a long time, Robin believes he is good enough to be regarded as a superhero someday, although I must point out that, despite his exceptional physical abilities, he is relatively less impressive than his four friends/colleagues. While Beast Boy can be transformed into any kind of animal, Starfire, an alien princess from the outer space, can shoot laser beams from her hands and eyes, and Raven has a telekinetic/teleport power as the daughter of some powerful demon. In case of my favorite character Cyborg, he is a robotized boy equipped with various weapons and other miscellaneous tools including a music player, which is certainly useful when he and his friends sing and dance (that happens pretty often throughout the film, by the way).

In their world, superheroes have been worshiped and adored a lot by common people, and, not so surprisingly, Hollywood has made heaps of superhero films where superheroes play themselves. When he attends the premiere of the latest Batman movie along with his friends, Robin hopes that there will soon be a movie about him, but, sadly, his status turns out to be far less significant than he ever imagined, and he is quite disappointed with that.

At least, he has his four friends to cheer him up, but Robin decides to go to Hollywood for making his dream come true, and his friends willingly join him because, well, he is their friend. Once they see that there have been too many superhero movies at present (I must confess that I cannot help but laugh silently as typing this sentence for a reason many of you probably know), they decide to commit something rather drastic for increasing the need for their movie, and that leads to one of the looniest moments in the film, but then they soon come to realize that the consequence of their action is too much for them.

After hurriedly rectifying the situation, the Teen Titans go for a less drastic way instead. For being as famous as Superhero and other superheroes, they need a powerful opponent to distinguish them, and they fortunately have an ideal guy for that. There is a new villain named Slade (voiced by Will Arnett, who also co-produced the film), and this guy, who looks like a cheap version of Deadpool, is about to execute his diabolical plan involved with some precious mineral, which he recently succeeds in stealing despite the efforts of the Teen Titans.

As fighting against Slade together, the Tean Titans naturally come to draw the attention of Hollywood, and they are soon approached by Jade Wilson (voiced by Kristen Bell), a successful filmmaker who is currently making another Batman and Superman movie. Robin is delighted to see that he finally gets his wish, but then he becomes distant to his friends as clinging more to his dream, and this disappoints his friends a lot.

It is not much of a spoiler to tell you that 1) Robin eventually comes to realize his error, and 2) he is reminded again that friendship matters more than anything else, and 3) he and his friends subsequently gather together again to stop Slade’s evil plan, but the screenplay by Aaron Horvath, who co-directed the film with Peter Rida, and his co-writer Michael Jelenic diligently throws small and big moments for good laughs. I often chuckled as appreciating a number of witty and hilarious moments of self-conscious humor, and I particularly liked a sly satiric touch in Wilson’s ambitious promotional event for Robin’s movie, which will certainly tickle you if you are, like me, a seasoned moviegoer who has been tired of the massive marketing strategies of recent Hollywood superhero films.

The main cast members give endearing voice performances full of life and personality, and the same thing can be said about the other notable voice performers in the film. While Will Arnett and Kristen Bell are reliable as usual, and Nicholas Cage shows some sense of humor via his deadpan voice performance, and many of you will surely appreciate the cameo appearance of a certain famous figure who recently passed away.

Overall, “Teen Titans Go! To the Movies” is a fun stuff which can entertain both young and adult audiences, and its upbeat spirit still makes me smile even at present. Sure, this is a minor work compared to “Incredibles 2” (2018) or “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” (2018), but it did its job as well as intended, and now I am seriously considering checking out several episodes of “Teen Titans Go!”

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