Justice League vs. Teen TitansStarring:  Rosario Dawson, Christopher Gorham, Shemar Moore, Jerry O’Connel, Jason o’Mara, Stuart Allan, Sean Maher, Taissa Farmiga, Brandon Soo Hoo, Jake T. Austin, Kari Wahkgren, and Jon Bernthal
Director: Sam Liu
Original Year of Release: 2016
Rated: PG-13
Run Time: 1h 18min

Warner Brothers and DC Entertainment have really hit us lately with the VS and Team Ups for their comic book characters. Obviously, we have had Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and that most recent episode of Supergirl titled “The World’s Finest”, where she met the Flash. Now on the home video front, we have Justice League vs. Teen Titans.

Superheroes duking it out is nothing new, obviously. For fans of the genre, it is always interesting to see what brings two heroes (or in this case, two groups of heroes) to blows. Is it their first meeting? A misunderstanding? A political issue? Perhaps it is the scheme of a villain? For Justice League vs. Teen Titans it is the last one. Trigon (Jon Bernthal) is seeking out his daughter, Raven (Taissa Farmiga), in the hopes to literally bring Hell to the planet Earth. Raven is the key to unlocking the gateway from his dimension. Trigon’s problem is that Raven is a member of the young superhero team called the Teen Titans. For those of you that don’t know, the Teen Titans are mainly compromised of young heroes or “sidekicks” (learn more about them here on DC Comics). For the purposes of Justice League vs. Teen Titans , their roster consists of Raven, Blue Beetle (Jake T. Austin), Beast Boy (Brandon Soo Hoo), and they are currently lead by Starfire (Kari Wahkgren). Our introduction to this batch of Titans arrives in the form of Robin (Stuart Allan). After a recent incident with the Justice League where Robin saved the day, Batman (James O’Mara) decides that Robin needs to be a better team player. Nightwing (Sean Maher) drops him off with the Titans and we immediately see that Robin does not play well with others.

To satisfy your first question (if I haven’t already with the list of who is playing Batman and Robin), this is the same cast of Justice League actors we have seen for last several DC Universe releases. There has been an occasional divergence with Kevin Conroy returning as Batman, see Batman: Assault on Arkham and the upcoming Batman: The Killing Joke, but for this Batman, as well as Superman, Wonder Woman, and The Flash, the cast has returned.

The opening of the film establishes that Robin lacks ability to work within a team, larger than the Bat family, or realize that his actions have repercussions. His solution to handling the first of Trigon’s minions was to annihilate it completely. This left the League with no answers as to who had attacked them. Later, many of them fall to Trigon’s demons and become a part of his army. Can you see where the VS part is going to come from?

If you have been following this line of stories featuring not only this Justice League and this Batman, you know that Robin has had his problems being a hero. Despite the recent events in Batman: Bad Blood (see review here), Robin still has a chip on his shoulder. At first I thought this was an oversight in either the writing or the overall story, but this story works through that problem. Robin has learned to play by Batman’s rules, now he has to become part of something bigger. This lesson occurs as Starfire tries to bring him into the Titans.

Justice League vs. Teen Titans

This installment will not be for everyone. Starfire takes these kids out of the Titans’ training facilities and places them in an environment where they have to have fun. For a while, it becomes just your ordinary night out at a Carnival where Beast Boy and Robin have a dance off. This basic everyday thing allows them to check their superhero capes at the door and just be themselves around normal people. Robin, ever vigilant, still brings his sword with him, and of course he actually does need it. Trigon arrives and the Titans now have to work together to handle him as a threat.

The VS part of Justice League vs. Teen Titans arrives when the Justice League arrives to take Raven away (see clip below). The Titans stand by Raven as they believe they are the only ones that can protect her. Before the heroes can actually start battling each other, Trigon’s minions arrive and possess the Justice League. So with the old guard out of the picture, the Titans have to rise to the occasion. It’s a grand fight and literally takes place in Hell.

This was a fun and interesting introduction to the this line up of the Titans. For fans that love the Young Justice series, I can already hear the fanboy complaints. In many respects, this is really Stuart Allan’s show. His Robin is the bridge between these two groups. He reveals Robin’s softer side, and finally wins us over that he can learn to be a team player.

I recommend watching this feature first and not skipping right over it to the sneak peek at DC Universe’s next animated movie, Batman: The Killing Joke. It is only a few minutes long, but enough to remind us that Kevin Conroy is the definitive Batman. I would also like to say that Justice League vs. Teen Titans is not one for the younger kids. PG-13 is a fair rating, but you may have to explain a thing or two about how Raven’s parents conceived Raven, or why the boys consider Starfire their new favorite superhero. DC Entertainment may not be featuring the Justice League every week on television, but this continuing story of the Justice League and the Dynamic Duo have been pretty solid thus far.

Justice League vs. Teen Titans – Enhanced Content

DVD

An exclusive sneak peek at the next DC Universe Original Movie.

Blu-ray™ Combo Pack

An exclusive sneak peek at the next DC Universe Original Movie.

Featurette – “Growing Up Titan” – The Teen Titans have fascinated readers for over 50 years due in part to their stories of valor, as well as earning empathy with comic book readers during their own trials growing up into adulthood.  This documentary spotlights the importance of young voices in the DC Comics mythology, giving generations of readers a team of heroes that mirror their own life experiences. 

Featurette – “Heroes and Villains – Raven” – She is the daughter of one of DC Comics’ greatest villains, the demon Trigon.  Raven is a powerful telepath who uses her soul-self as a means for astral projection.  She is integral to the Teen Titans.  This documentary is her story.

Featurette – “Heroes and Villains – Trigon – The most fearsome and evil opponent the Teen Titans have encountered is this inter-dimensional demon.  Trigon uses his immortality to shape worlds and exact his control.   This documentary introduces the character and how he raises the stakes for the Teen Titans.

From the DC Comics Vault – Two Classic Episodes of DC Comics cartoons

Batman: The Killing Joke – Sneak Peek

[review]

Our Score

By Robert Trate

In my career as a writer, I have made Doctor Who giggle, asked Ahsoka Tano what underwear she was wearing, and spoke with a Raptor from Jurassic Park.

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