The Teen Titans are finally getting their wish for a big screen adventure, but how will they fare against a superhero's biggest foe: Film critics? Teen Titans Go! to the Movies, a feature adaptation of Cartoon Network's lighthearted animated comedy, opens Friday, July 27 and the early reviews are looking great.
Most critics are pointing out that it's nice to enjoy a film that doesn't take itself too seriously and presents a welcome escape for beleaguered parents to enjoy with their kids. There's also a running theme in the reviews that Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment — the companies behind this film — can take a lesson for their live-action productions, which have been called out for a lack of humor. (The critics do draw the line, however, at Teen Titans Go's ubiquitous fart jokes.)
"Teen Titans Go! is unafraid to laugh at Warner Bros. and DC’s missteps, which is important to the re-branding effort under this new regime," writes the Observer's Brandon Katz, in reference to new leadership at the studios. "The movie makes jokes at the expense of 2011’s laughable Green Lantern, WB’s earlier tendency to foolishly announce a slew of release dates years in advance (the majority of which were never filled), and even Batman v. Superman's meme-generating Martha twist."
Teen Titans Go! to the Movies features the show's five heroes — Robin, Cyborg, Raven, Starfire and Beast Boy — angling to get their own feature film. If there's going to be a movie starring Batman's butler Alfred (as the team learns), then why can't they get a piece of the spotlight? The plot follows their mission to find a worthy villain (Slade, aka Deathstroke, voiced by Will Arnett) which they hope will attract interest from Hollywood.
The Hollywood Reporter says that "the storyline is only slightly less rudimentary than the Saturday morning TV-level animation, but it all serves as an effective vehicle for some very funny gags inspired by comic book movies, beginning with the clever spoofing of Marvel films' opening graphics."
The Associated Press notes that "this is a film that adores mocking itself" and the reviewer expresses admiration for the transition from TV to film. "Do go for the world created by the writers and directors Aaron Horvath, Michael Jelenic and Peter Rida Michail, who have been collaborating on this screwball world since 2013," the review advises. "Their transition to the big screen is admirable — taking a 22-minute TV show into an hour and a half movie can’t be easy — but it never lags."
Variety points out that the movie has many similarities to Incredibles 2, but that Teen Titans Go's "plot sits more comfortably in this zippy but functionally animated, glorified-TV-series context." In addition, the 2D format is a big plus for this critic: "Animation in our time has grown so technologically advanced that I was grateful, as I think audiences will be, to relax into the funky-punky jagged primitive landscapes of Teen Titans Go!, which don’t pretend to be tactile or 'expressive' but are appealing for that very reason.
The Playlist praises the movie for being more than just meta gags and fart jokes, singling out the unexpected character development. "This movie does have a lot of heart," the review notes. "Each member of the team is given some nice, emotional beats that manage to register through the nonstop assault of gags (It should also be noted this movie is really funny). It’s this delicate mixture of humor and sentimentality that makes it something more than just a biting jab at the current superhero culture, considering those movies are rarely (if ever) this sweet."
Through the first 10 reviews, Teen Titans Go to the Movies has a certified fresh 100% score at Rotten Tomatoes.