Soon after Damian joins the Teen Titans as Robin, a rift develops between the Justice League and the Titans over Raven, whom the JL sees as being in league with her father, the demon Trigon, while the Titans see her as his victim. Soon the rift turns into an all-o ut war, as the Titans take it upon themselves to protect Raven from the League, while thwarting Trigon's plans to create a hell on Earth.
I'll be honest with you – I wasn't too excited about sitting down to watch 'Justice League vs Teen Titans'. While the recent 'Batman'-driven titles in the DC Universe have been pretty solid, the 'Justice League' movies haven't been, with the exception of Gods & Monsters, which was an alternate-universe story. So, I wasn't expecting a whole lot going into this one...and I was surprised that the movie turned out to actually be pretty good.
One of the main reasons 'Justice League vs Teen Titans' works is because of Damian Wayne/Robin (voice of Stuart Allan). Yes, I know he's a character that can easily alienate fans, as he's pretty abrasive at times and not exactly respectful to his fellow superheroes – particularly his father, Bruce Wayne/Batman (voice of Jason O'Mara). But Damian has grown on me in the several 'Batman' releases he's been in, and here gets the chance to grow a little more, as he's thrown into the ranks of a younger group of heroes, the Teen Titans.
The reason Damian gets sent to the Titans is due to an opening battle between the Justice League and the Legion of Doom, where Damian – against Batman's instructions, of course – takes matters into his own hands. He manages to (albeit recklessly) help end the fight, but Batman sees the need for more growth and has Nightwing (aka Dick Grayson) deliver Damian to Teen Titan headquarters (a building shaped like a big 'T', which doesn't seems to be the best of construction designs). There he meets leader Starfire (voice of Kari Wahlgren), and teen superheroes Beast Boy (voice of Brandon Soo Hoo), Blue Beetle (voice of Jake T. Austin), and – most importantly – Raven (voice of Taissa Farmiga), whose character plays a major role in the plotline of this release.
As it turns out, not only is Raven the daughter of a bad guy...he's a really bad guy named Trigon (voice of Jon Bernthal), who is pretty much the Devil incarnate. He wants his daughter back and loyal to him and is willing to do anything to achieve it – primarily destroying the human world she holds so dear. As villains go, Trigon isn't a particularly interesting one, but he does serve to show us how lonely and haunted the character of Raven is – which, naturally, sparks an attraction from Damian, since he sees a lot of himself in her.
As for the big showdown that the title of the movie promises? Well, it's a bit of a cheat, as the only reason the Justice League squares off against any of the Teen Titans is because Trigon has sent demons into their bodies to take control of them. Even then, it's primarily Superman (voice of Jerry O'Connell) who reels his fellow League members back to the good side of things in the movie's climatic conclusion.
Fan love/hate for this release is going to largely depend on how they feel about the Damian character and their response to the character of Raven. I liked them both here and actually enjoyed the quieter moments of this movie a lot more than the action sequences (the title also isn't afraid to add some humor to the mix, which is nice considering how dark Raven's past proves to be). If you're going into this one looking for a big battle between the two teams of heroes, you're probably going to come away disappointed. If, however, you're more into these DC releases to see how these characters are growing and developing, I think you'll enjoy this one quite a bit.
The Blu-Ray: Vital Disc Stats
'Justice League vs Teen Titans' dukes in out in HD by arriving in an eco-friendly Elite keepcase, which houses the 25GB single-layer Blu-ray, the dual-layer DVD, and an insert containing a code for an UltraViolet copy of the movie. There are no front-loaded materials on the Blu-ray, but the DVD is front-loaded with trailers for 'LEGO Scooby-Doo! Haunted Hollywood' and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. The main menu is the standard Warners' design, with a still image of the box cover and menu selections running horizontally across the bottom of the screen.
In addition to this version, there are a number of different releases from which to select. First, available at all retailers if you can find it is a Limited Edition Gift set in which the same Blu-ray case of of the standard release is housed inside a larger box (featuring the same artwork) that also contains a figurine of Robin. This release is limited to 57,000 copies, and each is numbered. This is actually the version Warners sent me for review, so now everyone knows where #153 of this set wound up. As usual, there's also some retailer exclusives. Target is offering up a steelbook version of this release (sans the figurine), while Best Buy has an exclusive version of the gift set (with the figurine) that also comes with the 'Teen Titans' graphic novel, 'Blinded by the Light'.
The Blu-ray in this release is region-free.
'Justice League vs Teen Titans' is presented in the 1.78 aspect ratio, and – as expected – suffers from many of the issues that prior DC Universe releases from Warner Bros. have, although the problems are not nearly as obtrusive as that have been on earlier Blu-rays.
Banding once again remains the biggest problem here and the easiest one to spot, although – again – a lot of this is just the result of the animation style DC uses on these animated titles. I'm happy to report that marcoblocking is less of an issue this time and only pops up noticeably a few times in this presentation.
Colors here are vibrant and black levels are strong. I'm also happy to report DC has dialed back a bit on both the motion blur when their heroes are in action, as well as clouding up the color a bit (which, in the past was an attempt to make the animation more 'realistic', but just resulted in ugly visuals). Yes, it seems DC/Warners has finally found a 'style' that works well for their releases, and most viewers should be quite happy with what they get here.
The featured track is an English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio one that once again proves to be the most entertaining aspect of this release. DC/Warners continues to have a lot of fun with these audio presentations, providing an immersive listen that features a lot of LFE use and some fun with directionality. Everything is mixed properly as well, so even in the movie's most action-packed scenes, the explosions and mayhem don't seem disproportional to the spoken word. I also detected no apparant glitches in this well-done track.
In addition to the lossless English track, Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks in French, German, and Spanish (Latin), along with a 2.0 Dolby Digital track in Spanish (Castilian). Subtitles are available in English SDH, French, German, Spanish (Latin), and Spanish (Castilian).
While the title is slightly misleading as to the plot of this latest DC Universe release, I still found myself enjoying the fun, largely due to the continued excellent usage of the Damian Wayne character by the writers. What could have been a movie that just focused on a ton of action (and, don't worry, there's still plenty) turned into a wonderful character-driven piece that made me want to see the Teen Titans in action again soon. The folks at DC are building a nice ongoing story with these heroes and I'm anxious to see where things go from here. Recommended.