REVIEW: TITANS – SEASON 2

Esai Morales, Minka Kelly, Alan Ritchson, Anna Diop, Conor Leslie, Ryan Potter, Brenton Thwaites, Chelsea Zhang, Joshua Orpin, Curran Walters, and Teagan Croft in Titans (2018)

Starring

Brenton Thwaites (Pirates of The Caribbean 5)
Anna Diop (Us)
Teagan Croft (Home and Away)
Ryan Potter (Big Hero 6)
Minka Kelly (Just Go With It)
Alan Ritchson (Smallville)
Conor Leslie (Chained)
Curran Walters (Girl Meets World)
Esai Morales (Caprica)
Chelsea Zhang (Daybreak)
Joshua Orpin (The Blake Mysteries: Ghost Stories)

Teagan Croft in Titans (2018)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Rachel Nichols (Alex Cross)
Seamus Dever (Hollywoodland)
Iain Glen (Game of Thrones)
Demore Barnes (The Flash)
Michael Mosley (Ozark)
Hanneke Talbot (Star Trek: Discovery)
Drew Van Acker (Pretty Little Liars)
Chella Man
Ann Magnuson (Panic Room)
Mayko Nguyen (Anon)
Raoul Bhaneja (Miss Sloane)
Genevieve Angelson (The Upside)
Natalie Gumede (Coronation Street)
Peter MacNeill (Open Range)
Sarah Deakins (Andromeda)
Evan Jones (The Book of Eli)
Currie Graham (Agent Carter)

Chelsea Zhang in Titans (2018)When the first trailer for Titans dropped and we heard Dick Grayson utter the words “Fuck Batman”, we knew this was not going to be anything like the animated version of DC’s young crimefighters. Over the course of a decent first season, DC Universe’s first original series ended up feeling a lot like the CW Arrowverse shows just with more profanity. Now, with the premiere of the second season, we get to see if the series can break out into something a little more distinct in the wake of shows like Doom Patrol and the quickly cancelled Swamp Thing. The premiere episode of the second season serves as both a wrap to the first season storylines as well as a soft reboot of the show. So, if you were hoping for more of what you saw in the first season, you may be slightly disappointed.Picking up immediately after the first season finale, season two finds the Titans gathered together with Rachel/Raven and Gar/Beast Boy trapped in a nightmare realm by Trigon (Seamus Dever). With his master plan requiring that Rachel’s heart break so that he can garner a power to destroy Earth, the first episode primarily focuses on each of the Titans dealing with the darkness in their own souls. It is a familiar trope in television shows and goes all the way back to big screen comic book movies like SUPERMAN III when Supes fought Clark Kent in a junkyard. Here, the effect feels more like treading water for a good chunk of the episode.Brenton Thwaites in Titans (2018)When the final battle finally takes place, it feels a bit underwhelming and almost like this episode should have been the first season finale rather than a premiere episode. Almost as if split in half, we get a wrap up to Rachel’s relationship with her father, Trigon, and comes into her abilities in full. We also get a substantial amount of screen time from the first season characters as well as Curran Walters as Jason Todd, aka Robin II. There is even a nice fight between Dick Grayson and Jason Todd, something we have never seen before in live action. I have always enjoyed the multiple iterations of the Robin character and seeing two together like this is a highlight of this series.Esai Morales and Curran Walters in Titans (2018)The second half of the episode plays more like what I was expecting the season premiere to be: a focus on the next storyline. We get an introduction to Deathstroke, a very different version of the supervillain here played by Esai Morales, and one that seems to have a past with Dick Grayson and the Titans. We also get our first look at Iain Glen as the latest Bruce Wayne. While Batman was seen (played by Alain Moussi) in costume in the first season, this is the first actual dialogue spoken by Bruce Wayne in live action on the small screen. With the brief screen time in the first episode, it is not fair to judge how suited for the role that Glen may be, but it is certainly a different take on Bruce Wayne than we have seen before.Esai Morales and Curran Walters in Titans (2018)As the season continues, this season is very different than its predecessor. throughout this year the universe gets bigger with the introduction of some major DC characters debuting including Superboy and Aqualad on top of Deathstroke and Bruce Wayne. Each character gets his or her on showcase. The biggest highlight has to be Esai Morales as Deathstroke. this version gives Arrows version a run for his money. I absolutely love this show and with a third season green-lit, we have more Titan fun to come. Joshua Orpin in Titans (2018)Titans is not going to blow anyone away but it will still appeal to established fans and has some nice moments for fans of DC Comics history.

 

REVIEW: TITANS – SEASON 1

Anna Diop, Ryan Potter, Brenton Thwaites, and Teagan Croft in Titans (2018)

Starring

Brenton Thwaites (Pirates of The Caribbean 5)
Anna Diop (Us)
Teagan Croft (Home and Away)
Ryan Potter (Big Hero 6)

Teagan Croft in Titans (2018)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Minka Kelly (Just Go With It)
Alan Ritchson (Smallville)
Reed Birney (Gossip Girl)
Curran Walters (Girl Meets World)
Rachel Nichols (Alex Cross)
Conor Leslie (Chained)
Sherilyn Fenn (The Wild Life)
Brendan Fraser (Bedazzled)
Matt Bomer (Chuck)
Lester Speight (Faster)
Elliot Knight (Life Sentence)
Marina Sirtis (Star Trek: Generations)
Seamus Dever (Hollywoodland)
Alain Moussi (Pompeii)
Lindsey Gort (2 Guns)
Jeff Clarke (Downsizing)
Melody Johnson (Jason X)
Jeni Ross (Stage Fright)
Logan Thompson (IT)
Tomaso Sanelli (Detention Adventure)
Meagen Fay (That’s My Boy)
Bruno Bichir (Che)
April Bowlby (Twp and a Half Men)
Zach Smadu (Miss Sloane)
Richard Zeppieri (Earth: Final Conflict)

Melody Johnson, Zach Smadu, and Brenton Thwaites in Titans (2018)After all the hype over the past 12 months, the DC Universe streaming app is finally here – and with it, its first original production, Titans. In the lead-up to its debut, there’s been a lot of controversy about the show’s violence and infamous “F**k Batman” line. Many detractors complained about its edginess and DC’s doubling down on darker superhero material.Brenton Thwaites in Titans (2018)The simple fact is this: The MCU isn’t the be all and end all of everything comic book-related. Yes, it’s a proven formula that works, but there’s enough room for all sorts of superhero programming – including darker ones. Heck, just look at Marvel’s Netflix series as perfect examples of how it can work and exist in its own vacuum. Titans isn’t nearly as violent or obscene as some people anticipated. Remember how everyone was freaking out about Robin using guns and killing thugs? Well, DC gotcha. It was all clever editing in the trailer. While the Boy Wonder brings the pain to the criminals, he never crosses the line.Anna Diop in Titans (2018)That isn’t to say that there aren’t a few deaths in the show, because there are. Raven shows the darkness in her, while Starfire also displays what happens when you cross her. Even so, these actions aren’t inexplicable. They make sense in the context of the story, and you’ll understand better once you watch it.Brenton Thwaites in Titans (2018)In the premiere titled “Titans”, the focus is on Dick Grayson, Raven, and Starfire.  Raven is the central point of the series and is what brings the team together. Her gift – or curse – is what sets off the series of events, and she seeks out Grayson’s assistance. At the same time, we get insight into Grayson’s new life as a detective in Detroit after his split with Batman. There’s still a lot more to explore, but it lays down a good basis of Grayson’s inevitable transformation into Nightwing. Starfire is a bit of a conundrum here, as she struggles to remember her memories and embarks on a quest to find out more about her “forgotten” life.Anna Diop, Ryan Potter, Brenton Thwaites, and Teagan Croft in Titans (2018)From a structural point-of-view, the series introduces these characters in a fluid way. While team-up series always run the danger of stuffing too many characters into an episode, Titans avoided this by focusing only on three of them. In fact, Beast Boy only made an appearance at the end of the first episode, but when you keep watching he becomes a more fleshed out character and is key to the introduction of Doom Patrol. Brenton Thwaites in Titans (2018)The story grips you from the get-go as well. There are a few narrative threads that need to be unravelled and you’ll want to tune in to see what happens next. Raven’s arc, in particular, looks to be like something out of a horror movie as she has numerous people after her, and you know things will take a turn for the worse at some point.Anna Diop and Teagan Croft in Titans (2018)Look, this isn’t a beat-for-beat reimagining of Marv Wolfman and George Pérez’s New Teen Titans; it takes influence from the source material but introduces its own twists and turns. While too much talk has centred on the series’ violence and F-bombs, it’s not as gratuitous as you’d think. There will be many people eating their words about Titans, that’s for sure. It’s something different, promising, and the premiere works in establishing this new universe. It leaves you pondering about a few of the mysteries it introduces and wondering what’s next. Isn’t that the purpose of any good show.

REVIEW: JUSTICE LEAGUE VS TEEN TITAN

CAST (VOICES)
Rosario Dawson (Sin City)
Christopher Gorham (Ugly Betty)
Shemar Moore (Birds of Prey)
Jerry O’Connell (Jerry Maguire)
Jon Bernthal (Daredevil)
Jason O’Mara (Resident Evil: Extinction)
Stuart Allan (Batman vs Robin)
Jake T. Austin (Rio)
Taissa Farmiga (The Final Girls)
Sean Maher (Firefly)
Brandon Soo Hoo (Tropic Thunder)
Kari Wahlgren (Bolt)
Laura Bailey (Marvel’s Avengers Assemble)
Steven Blum (Wolverine and The X-Men)
T.C. Carson (Final Destination 2)
Rick D. Wasserman (Planet Hulk)
The Justice League battle the Legion of Doom (consisting of Lex Luthor, Solomon Grundy, Cheetah, Weather Wizard, and Toymaster). After the Legion is defeated and captured, Weather Wizard runs away, but is possessed by a shadow-like creature that teleports through darkness, revealed to be the demon Trigon, whose supernatural nature allows him to physically harm Superman. Robin disobeys his father’s orders to get civilians to safety, thinking he can help the Justice League fight Trigon. Robin sets the Batwing to crash into Trigon and explode, forcing Trigon’s shade to leave Weather Wizard. Upset that there’s no answer to this occurrence, and in order for his son to learn teamwork, Batman sends Robin to join the Teen Titans. Meanwhile, Trigon’s shade possesses Superman, plaguing him with visions of demonic shadows.
Robin meets the Titans’ leader Starfire and members Raven, Beast Boy, and Blue Beetle, but his lack of respect for the others causes friction. Blue Beetle and Robin fight until Blue Beetle’s suit instinctively uses an energy blast to severely burn Robin. Raven heals him, but during the process her empathic powers link their minds, tapping into each other’s memories. Later, Robin thanks Raven for saving him, but confronts her about an entity he saw in her mind. With Raven unwilling to answer, Damian tries to search up Raven’s background, but no information is kept about her in the Titans’ files. When he confronts Starfire about this, she replies the team isn’t just for fighting crime, but also a surrogate family, as they are all lost souls in a world with no place for them.
Superman finds and brutally beats down Atomic Skull, alerting Wonder Woman and Batman. The latter uses kryptonite to drive Superman back, revealing his possession before Superman flies off. Cyborg tries to locate Superman and a “female with supernatural powers”, whom Trigon is searching for. He and Batman analyse footage of both a transformed Superman and the shadow demon that possessed Weather Wizard, concluding that if the host is damaged or overwhelmed, they will be freed from it. In the meantime, in order to loosen Damian up, Starfire takes the group to a carnival, where Raven encounters demon emissaries and Trigon, in a spirit form, who wants to find her so they can be together. With the help of the other Titans, Raven resists and fights the emissaries until they cannot maintain their presence on the Earthly plane and dissipate.
Afterward, the Titans demand answers from Raven. She reveals that her mother was a member of a cult who married her off to Trigon, who took a human form. Her mother fled after discovering his true nature and was saved by the Azarathians, a people from another dimension, where Raven grew up. After unwittingly summoning her father and thus causing the obliteration of Azarath and her mother, Raven was taken by him so he could conquer Earth, but she trapped him inside a crystal. The Titans offer their support to Raven in defeating Trigon, but the Justice League arrives in order to take Raven away. However, before they can act, Flash, Cyborg, and Wonder Woman are taken over by Trigon’s shadow and turned into demon emissaries. Batman prevents his own possession by injecting himself with a nerve toxin designed for Bane, putting himself in a comatose state and thus causing the shade to abandon him.
The Titans battle the League without success, causing Raven to surrender herself. Just before the League and Raven use a portal to leave, Blue Beetle brings back Cyborg from Trigon’s control. Robin locates Raven in the Middle East, revealing he put a tracer on the Titans after meeting them. Cyborg and the Titans portal to the Middle East, to discover that Superman had unearthed a mystical shrine that Raven uses her powers on so that Trigon can pass though the shrine as a gate. Robin stabs Superman with kryptonite to free him from Trigon, and back to his own self, Superman defeats Flash and Wonder Woman, which frees them both. The Titans save Raven, but not before Trigon returns to his physical form.
Following Raven’s plan, the Titans and Cyborg portal to Hell to retrieve the crystal to lock away her father, while the Justice League attempt to prevent Trigon from reaching innocent civilians. Beast Boy’s biology reacts oddly to the dimension, initially forcing him to take the form of demonic beasts. The Titans battle hordes of guardian demons while Raven gets the crystal, but an undead Ra’s al Ghul shatters it; he was made Trigon’s vassal following his death, since the Lazarus pits were created by him. Ra’s tries to persuade Robin to join him and Trigon so that he may return to life, but Robin, deciding that he is no longer an ‘al Ghul’ but a Titan, refuses, engages his grandfather in combat, and ultimately defeats and kills him. Overcoming her inner doubts and Trigon’s telepathic attempts to dissuade her, Raven uses her powers and her link to Trigon to re-imprison him in a shard of the broken crystal.
Raven informs the Titans that the shard must stay in Hell and be watched always, in case Trigon tries once again to break free. She puts herself forward as Trigon’s keeper, but the Titans assure that her home is with them. Back at Titans Tower, the group – now joined by Robin and Cyborg – are lauded by the Justice League for saving Earth, and Raven wears her father’s crystal prison on her forehead, even as he is angrily demanding his release. In a post-credits scene, Terra is seen approaching Titans Tower, riding a boulder across the sea.
I’m not really a fan of Damian in a leading role, but in a team the character plays out much better. Sort of like how Batman integrates nicely with the Justice League – both characters can add a bit of spice to the mix once they’re able to clearly contrast with other characters. In my opinion this is the first movie in this line that manages to do this, so that is good to see.  There are some parallels between a few appearances in here and in Young Justice – some designs are related without a doubt, some characters share close or relatively close resemblances, but they are different personalities (and have different voice-actors). Wasn’t sure how to take this at first, but they’re likable.  Overall another great animated outing.