‚ÄúTeen Titans Go!‚ÄĚ is a fifteen-minute cartoon that plays over and over on Cartoon Network. My kids have watched every episode a dozen times. They love it. It‚Äôs zany and meta and weird. It‚Äôs perfect in 15-minute chunks of insanity. As a full-length movie? No.
If there‚Äôs one thing the ‚ÄúTeen Titans Go!‚ÄĚ team doesn‚Äôt do, it‚Äôs conventual storytelling. In the TV show the Teen Titans fight evil Santa Claus; they tussle with a weirdo tooth fairy who literally eats teeth; one time they had an episode where bees ‚ÄĒ yes, the insects ‚ÄĒ suddenly became currency. See, weird, right?
In the movie they attempt to create a real story ‚ÄĒ by ‚ÄúTeen Titans Go!‚ÄĚ standards ‚ÄĒ by giving it a normal plot and following through with it.
It‚Äôs readily apparent that the writers are stretching trying to fill up the time. Hamstrung by the length of full-length movies they push in filler scene after filler scene until the irreverent idiocy that is ‚ÄúTeen Titans Go!‚ÄĚ is so spread out that the end product feels watered down and useless.
Robin, the leader of the group, wants a movie because all superheroes have movies and how can he be a superhero if they haven‚Äôt made a movie about him yet? His only superpower is being super insecure about his standing within the superhero community. His team of plucky friends ‚ÄĒ who all have real superpowers ‚ÄĒ try to help him out. They try to make things not appear as bleak as they might.
There are a lot of jokes here about superhero culture and Hollywood‚Äôs obsession with the genre. Perhaps the best joke of the whole movie is having Nicolas Cage voice Superman. Oh, and there‚Äôs a pretty morbid visual gag involving Bruce Wayne‚Äôs parents that was hilarious and gob-smacking all at the same time.
With that said, this movie is missing what makes ‚ÄúTeen Titans Go!‚ÄĚ such a fun show to binge watch. It is wildly different every episode. The plots bounce around like toddlers on speed. Many times, the episodes don‚Äôt really have ‚Äúplots,‚ÄĚ but instead are a bunch of weird jokes and sight gags strung together like a modern day ‚ÄúLooney Tunes.‚ÄĚ
Trying to apply the standard movie-making handbook to this type of material seems wrong. The results speak for themselves. The movie feels like it‚Äôs spinning its wheels so much that getting to the end is kind of a chore. With the real funny gags spread out over an hour and a half there isn‚Äôt much comedic flow. It starts and stops in fits as it finally reaches a conclusion. And then we‚Äôre left wondering why did it even need a conclusion? Most episodes of the TV show don‚Äôt have one.