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When there's trouble, you know who to call...TEEN TITANS! Er, our bad...they apparently just go by "Titans" these days. DC's dark and brooding take on the adolescent superhero team returns next week for its third season, and critics have finally been given the green-light to share their thoughts on the first five episodes.
This season features the introduction of several classic characters like Barbara Gordon (Savannah Welch), Scarecrow (Vincent Kartheiser), Blackfire (Damaris Lewis) and most importantly, Red Hood (Curran Walters). Nearly beaten to death by Joker, Jason Todd has traded in his Robin persona for that of the red-masked villain. It's a development ripped straight out of the comics.
Here's what critics had to say:
"Curran Walters has to play an even more psychologically tormented version of Jason this time around," writes Marcos Melendez of Full Circle Cinema. "In his most vulnerable moments, Walters is able to ground himself. However, at first, he struggles to tap into the cold-blooded Red Hood persona in a believable manner. When he first faces off against Nightwing, it’s hard not to see right through the fake toughness. Fortunately, he eventually finds his stride and Walters is able to pull off both sides of the character by the fifth episode, which, by the way, ended up being the strongest in the season thus far."
"There are some truly shocking moments in the first five episodes of Titans, which walks the line between original and sacrilegious," Rafael Motamayor writes for Collider. "For instance, there is the addition of Vincent Kartheiser as Scarecrow, who takes an almost Hannibal Lecter-like role. It remains to be seen whether these bold choices pay off, especially since the show is so far jumping so fast from one plot point to the next that it is almost forgetting to make what came before matter."
ComicBook.com's Matthew Aguilar highlights the performances of Kartheiser and Welch, "though they might take an episode or two to get a proper feel for. Gordon's shining moment happens in a meeting with Bruce and Dick, while Crane's comes a little later in the season. In both cases, once it clicks, it really clicks, and both characters add new dimensions to the series and this rather dysfunctional Bat-family dynamic."
Writing for Fansided, Michael Patterson posits that the show has "found its footing" with "best selection of episodes yet, offering up a compelling adaptation of one of the greatest DC stories ever told. If it can keep this high standard up throughout the remainder of the season, it’s destined to reach the highs we’ve been waiting for it to obtain for some time."
Comic Book Resources boldy declares Season 3 as "a major step up" for the show, even if it does end up falling into the same pitfalls of "too-many-plotlines problem of previous entries in the series." Reviewer Liam Nolan concudes: "By the end of its first five episodes, Titans Season 3 is the show's best version of itself, but the series has, historically, had trouble sticking the landing. And thanks to the sheer number of plot threads, it's hard to imagine the show will satisfactorily accomplish everything that it wants to in 13 episodes. Still, the journey is certain to be a lot of fun."
Returning cast members this season are Brenton Thwaites (Dick Grayson), Anna Diop (Starfire), Ryan Potter (Beast Boy), Joshua Orpin (Superboy), Iain Glen (Bruce Wayne), Teagan Croft (Raven), Minka Kelly (Dove), Alan Ritchson (Hawk), and Conor Leslie (Wonder Girl).
Originally native to the now-defunct DC Universe streaming platform, Season 3 of Titans premieres exclusively on HBO Max next Thursday, Aug. 12.