REVIEW: TEEN TITANS: THE JUDAS CONTRACT

CAST (VOICES)

Stuart Allan (Rise of the Guardians)
Taissa Farmiga (The Nun)
Brandon Soo Hoo (Ender’s Game)
Jake T. Austin (The Fosters)
Kari Wahlgren (Wolverine & The X-Men)
Sean Maher (Firefly)
Christina Ricci (The Lizzie Borden Chronicles)
Miguel Ferrer (Robocop)
Gregg Henry (Guardians of The Galaxy)
Meg Foster (Masters of The Universe)
Maria Canals-Barrera (Justice League Unlimited)
Crispin Freeman (Young Justice)
Masasa Moyo (Paris)
Kevin Smith (Clerks)
Jason Spisak (Piranha 3D)
David Zayas (Gotham)
David Kaye (Beast Wars)

Five years ago, the original Teen Titans (consisting of Dick Grayson as Robin, Speedy, Kid Flash, Beast Boy and Bumblebee) rescue Princess Starfire of planet Tamaran from her captors sent by her evil older sister Blackfire who had staged a coup and forcibly took the throne. As she is no longer able to return to her world, the Titans offer her a home on Earth as one of them.In the present, Dick Grayson (now called Nightwing) rejoins the Teen Titans to track down a terrorist cult led by Brother Blood who plans on capturing the team to absorb each of their unique abilities with a machine that he has tested on Jericho (whom his assistant and lover Mother Mayhem quickly shoots afterwards). Brother Blood hires the mercenary Deathstroke to deliver the Titans to him, which he obliges to do for both the money and get revenge on Damian Wayne for foiling his evil plans a few years ago and replacing him as Ra’s al Ghul’s heir before Damian turned against the League of Assassins. Deathstroke monitors the Titans through his double agent that joined the team a year prior named Terra whom he rescued after her parents turned their whole village against her and tortured her. When Damian grows suspicious of Terra’s behavior and starts tracking her, he is captured by her and Deathstroke, thus revealing herself as a spy to Damian.Terra acts cold and distant towards the other Titans despite their welcoming attitude, but eventually warms up to them over time. During the night celebrating her one year anniversary with the Titans, she shares a tender moment with Beast Boy and kisses him. The next day, Deathstroke kidnaps Blue Beetle at the soup kitchen he works at, Beast Boy at a convention where he thought he would do a podcast with filmmaker Kevin Smith, and Starfire at the apartment shared by her and Nightwing. Dick discovers what happened to the other Titans and is attacked by Deathstroke at his apartment. He manages to escape by faking his own death, while Terra captures Raven in Titans’ Tower.Deathstroke and Terra bring the Titans to Brother Blood, but since the machine cannot operate properly without a sixth Titan (as Slade had failed to capture Nightwing), Slade hesitantly offers him Terra instead. Brother Blood starts draining the Titans of their powers and ascends to godlike status, but they are rescued by Nightwing. Nightwing and Robin fight Deathstroke while the rest take on Brother Blood, who has absorbed all of their powers. The two villains are stopped by the intervention of Terra, who is thoroughly hurt and enraged at Slade for his betrayal. Brother Blood is depowered by Raven unleashing her inner fury as a demon, and killed by Mother Mayhem while Deathstroke is buried underneath multiple rocks thrown by Terra. Too ashamed to face her former allies after betraying their trust, Terra decides to bring down the entire area. Beast Boy attempts to assist Terra in escaping the crumbling fortress, but Terra pushes him back and is buried underneath multiple layers of rubble. Beast Boy digs her up and she dies in his arms.In the epilogue, Beast Boy goes on Kevin Smith’s podcast and talks about the Titans with the host. He mentions that the team has a “wonderful new member” and that he will always miss Terra. In a post-credits scene, Jericho is shown to have survived the bullet Mother Mayhem shot at him earlier.The action is exciting, the screenplay is very well written and the animation keeps a solid level; but what I liked the most was to feel the Teen Titans as an authentic team, well balanced and united despite their differences with each other. To sum up, I enjoyed Teen Titans: The Judas Contract very much, and I will now be expecting their next movie with enthusiasm.

 

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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.