The animation’s so flat, static and dull it relies on brighter-than-bright sparkly colors to make it pop. Like “Power Puff Girls” or “My Little Pony.”
The jokes are infantile-obvious and pounded home with a sledgehammer, as if the writers figured they had to get through something especially thick.
And the plot? Well, it’s about unworthy “Super Heroes” angling to get a movie made about them. They, uh, succeeded.
“Teen Titans Go! To the Movies” should only be seen by its target audience — ten and under — on the appropriate-sized screen. Yeah, it’s a TV show which they squeezed a cut-rate $10 million movie out of, but I figure it’ll play best on a tablet or smart phone, preferably in the back seat of the minivan on a road trip to America’s National Parks.
With headphones, so nobody over 10 will have to hear this puerile piffle. But under 10? Butt jokes, fart gags and a whole scene of poop — what’s not to love?
It begins with the dimmest Warner Brothers short cartoon ever to grace a big screen (“The Late Batsby”), and follows with a tale of how Titan Tower’s most famous resident, The Boy Wonder, Robin (voiced by Scott Menville) craves a super hero movie all his own.
The other Titans? Raven, Starfire, Cyborg and Beast Boy? They can be in it, too.
Only they’re all regarded as “a joke” by everybody in the DC universe, and in Jump City, where they fight crime and rap out their “sick” theme song. Superman (Nicolas Cage, a clever voice-gag) and Batman (Jimmy Kimmel, less clever) agree. “Goofsters…a joke.”
How to change that? Get Hollywood, especially blockbuster director Jade Wilson (Kristen Bell), to notice them. Go there and round up a nemesis worthy of the big screen challenge (Will Arnett is Slade) and maybe go back in time to change the origin stories so that the real DC superheroes don’t become superheroes.
Their “time cycles?” Big Wheels. Their traveling music? “Back in Time” from “Back to the Future.”
Keeping Bruce Wayne’s family out of that Gotham alley and helping Jor-El (a bad Brando impersonator) save Krypton with techno music is the most interesting inside comicdom part of the plot, and it’s dispensed with in a flash.
At least there’s a “subtle Stan Lee cameo,” as in not-subtle, but funny in concept — Mr. Marvel Comics showing up in a DC movie?
I smirked at Stan and at Michael Bolton showing up to sing the “Upbeat Inspirational Song.” A smirk is all this is worth. The “manic” irreverence and anarchy of classic Warners ‘toons, of “Animaniacs” or even the first “Lego” movie, is missing. The gags about Disney (a “Lion King” spoof) seem winded.
A lot of fanboys seem to be endorsing this as the training wheels film that will create the next generation of cable cartoon TV and comic book addicts. But “Teen Titans Go! To the Movies” is too slapdash to manage that.
Go see “Incredibles 2” if that’s your aim. Even seeing it a second or fourth time will be more entertaining and surprising than this.
MPAA Rating: PG for action and rude humor
Cast: The voices of Scott Menville, Will Arnett, Kristen Bell, Nicolas Cage, Stan Lee and Michael Bolton
Credits: Written and directed by Aaron Horvath, Peter Rida Michail. A Warners Animation release.
Running time: 1:33