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Title: Justice League vs. Teen Titans

Movie: :3.5stars:
Video: :4stars:
Audio: :4.5stars:
Extras: :2.5stars:

HTS Overall Score:79

With the release of “Batman vs. Superman” in cinemas during the last week or so, it’s not surprising to see another “Vs.” movie coming out to coincide with that phenomenon. The DC animated films have been killing on home video, making for some very entertaining watching while the live action DC films have been getting a critical beating over the years. That’s not to say that the animated “New 52” universe hasn’t had its share of troubles, especially with the “Justice League” standalone films. “Justice League vs. Teen Titans” acts as a kind of break from the more serialized nature of the films, but at the same time bridges the gap between this movie and the “Son of Batman” trio of films that just finished a few months ago. Jason O’Mara is back playing good old Batman, and Stuart Allan reprises his role as the feisty and rather rebellious Damien Wayne, adding his own flavor to the role of Robin.

The film opens up with a giant action scene to really set the tone here, with the justice league giving the Legion of Doom a whooping that they soon won’t forget. However, something goes awry when Weather Wizard (Rick D. Wasserman) starts wielding some magic like no one has ever seen before and spouting off some mumbo jumbo about coming for “the girl”. Damien takes matters into his own hands and crashes the bat jet into Weather Wizard, which seems to cure the bewildered villain. Furious at Damien’s actions, Bruce sends the boy to stay with the Teen Titans, a group of teenage misfit superheroes who have a sort of “us against the world” mentality as they try and control their powers. Naturally Damien doesn’t take to it too well and the normal shenanigans occur while he settles into his new home.

On the outside world things haven’t gotten back to normal as much as the Justice League had hoped. Superman is taken over by the same mysterious force that controlled the likes of Weather Wizard, so not the world’s most powerful ally has been turned into a monster that will stop at nothing to fulfill the bidding of the mysterious puppet master. The fact of the matter is, though, the answer lies with the Teen Titans. It seems that this force is none other than Trigon (Jon Bernthal), an interdimensional demon who desires his half breed daughter’s soul to complete a bridge that will allow him entrance into our world. The problem for all involved is that his daughter is Raven (Taissa Farmiga), one of the teen titans who possesses some powerful magic of her own.

“Justice League vs. Teen Titans” is a strange mixture of kids fare vs a very adult nature. On one hand we have the standard comic book style action sequences that fill out the majority of the plot, but we also have to deal with the Teen Titans, who bring a very “kiddy” feel to parts of the movie. We have to deal with all of their self-doubts and the occasional bout of one-upmanship that is pretty standard for a kid’s TV show. The Titans are a bit of a mess, trying to figure out their powers and live a life as a freak of nature, but sometimes they’re also very self-aware and confident. The problem tends to be the fact that there is a bit of the old “yay, let’s build teamwork and work together guys!” going on there. “With our powers combined! We create FRIENDSHIP”! On the flip side, some of the battels get rather gruesome, pushing the boundaries of a PG-13 rating even for an animated film. The trip to hell ends up with the crew ripping and tearing through bloody corpses of demons like they’re cannon fodder in a way that even had me surprised.

With all the mishmash of styles going on, the movie actually works together fairly well. There’s some fun crossovers with other DC animated films, such as the “Son of Batman” trilogy, and keeps O’Mara and Allan in the driving roles. It seems that Warner and DC have become rather focused on keeping a sort of continuity, so Jerry O’Connell and Christopher Gorham are also reprising their roles as Superman and The Flash, which makes it VERY obvious that this is a big world building effort. Sometimes the film falls into the uneven nature of trying to balance the kiddy nature of the Teen Titans with the brutal violence of Trigon and his horded of demons, but overall the film works more often than it fails.


Rated PG-13 for fantasy action violence and some suggestive images

Video :4stars:
For those of you who have been keeping up with the DC animated films, this is pretty much par for the course in terms of picture quality. We have the standard 1.78:1 AVC encoded Blu-ray that looks pleasant, but never overly sharp and this film follows right in the footsteps of its predecessors. The color palette is given a rather burnished red hue to the color grading, with all sorts of strong blues, reds, yellows and greens to pop off the screen with vivid saturation levels. Raven’s cloak is a mixture of deep inky blacks and rich purples, while Star fire’s outfit contrasts her Kryptonite green eyes with the more subtle primaries of her skin tight costume. Robin is a bit more subdued with maroon reds and dark greens against the darkness of his cape, while Trigon is a heavily burnished red that fits the overall mood quite well. Contrast is excellent and line detail is excellent. There is some softness to the film that seems to be rather intentional, as it covers just about every second of the movie. It’s not OVERLY soft, but seems to lighten the picture just a little bit. The DC animated comics banding is ever present, but it is rather subdued in comparison with most of the DC animated library, which is definitely a boon to fans.

Audio :4.5stars:
The best part of the whole disc is easily the 5.1 DTS-HD MA track. Rich and bombastic, it is full of vibrancy and power at just about every turn. The opening scene with the Legion of Doom fills the room with some very powerful and heavy LFE that doesn’t let up the entire movie. Footsteps resound with thunderous power and the various blasts and explosions that happen during the action heavy movie really rock the low end. Surround activity is varied and intense, with the battle sounds shifting directions at a moment’s notice and filling the room with pinpoint precision. Dialog is above reproach, with great vocal replication and a perfect balance with the rest of the action. It’s not a perfect track, but it does AMAZINGLY well and shows that Warner cares a great deal about these animated DC films.

Extras :2.5stars:

• Growing Up Titan
• Heroes and Villains: Raven
• Heroes and Villains: Trigon
• A Sneak Peek at DC Universe's Next Movie: "Batman: The Killing Joke"
• From the DC Comics Vault
- Batman: The Brave and the Bold: Sidekicks Assemble!
- Teen Titans: The Prophecy

Overall: :3.5stars:

“Justice League vs. Teen Titans” isn’t the greatest in the DC animated line up, but it certainly is nowhere near the worst. The standalone feel to the movie is a bit refreshing and a bit disappointing at the same time, as I’ve really become used to the semi serialized tone of the last few movies. Trigon is never that intimidating of a villain, but the creepy sequences in “hell” as well as the brutal fight scenes makes for a fun ride that is sure to entertain those of you who have stuck with the series so far. Audio and video are good to amazing and the extras are actually pretty cool, especially the sneak peek at the VERY highly anticipated return of Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill in “The Killing Joke”. Recommended for a watch.

Additional Information:

Starring: Jason O'Mara, Rosario Dawson, Stuart Allan, Taissa Farmiga
Directed by: Sam Liu
Written by: Bryan Q. Miller, Alan Burnett
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1
Studio: Warner Brothers
Rated: R
Runtime: 79 minutes
Own it on Blu-ray™ Deluxe Edition, Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD & Digital HD 4/12/16

Buy Justice League vs. Teen Titans On Blu-ray at Amazon

Recommendation: Worth a Watch

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