Sunday, October 25, 2020

#IReadsYou Movie Review: "TEEN TITANS: The Judas Contract"

Teen Titans: The Judas Contract – video (2017)

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Running time:  84 minutes
MPAA – PG-13 for language, some violence, sensuality, thematic elements and brief drug use
WRITERS:  Ernie Altbacker (based on the comic book story by Marv Wolfman and George Perez and on the DC Comics characters)
EDITOR:  Christopher D. Lozinsk
COMPOSER:  Frederik Wiedmann
ANIMATION STUDIO:  The Answerstudios

Starring:  (voices) Sean Maher, Kari Wahlgren, Stuart Allan, Taissa Farmiga, Brandon Soo Hoo, Jake T. Austin, Christina Ricci, Miguel Ferrer, Gregg Henry, Meg Foster, Masasa Moyo, Jason Spisak, Crispin Freeman, and Kevin Smith

Teen Titans: The Judas Contract is a 2017 straight-to-video animated superhero film from Warner Bros. Animation.  The films stars the DC Comics superhero team, the Teen Titans.  The film's story is based on “The Judas Contract,” the 1983-84 story arc that was published in The New Teen Titans #39 to #44 and in The New Teen Titans Annual 3, which were created by the writer-artist team of Marv Wolfman and George Perez.  Teen Titans: The Judas Contract the movie focuses on the Teen Titans and their battle against an insane cult leader and his conspiracy against them.

Teen Titans: The Judas Contract opens with the original Teen TitansRobin/Dick Grayson (Sean Maher), Speedy (Crispin Freeman), Kid Flash (Jason Spisak), Beast Boy (Brandon Soo Hoo), and Bumblebee (Masasa Moyo).  During a mission, the Titans rescue an alien princess, Koriand'r of Tamaran (Kari Wahlgren), also known as “Starfire,” from her captors.

Five years later, Dick Grayson, now known as “Nightwing,” rejoins the Teen Titans, who are led by Starfire.  In addition to original member, Beast Boy, the team is now comprised of Raven (Taissa Farmiga), Terra (Christina Ricci), Blue Beetle (Jake T. Austin), and the current Robin, Damien Wayne (Stuart Allan).  The Titans have been battling a high-tech terrorist organization called “H.I.V.E.” and are trying to find its leader, “Brother Blood” (Gregg Henry), the head of a terrorist cult.

Brother Blood has grown tired of the Titans interfering in his plans, but he desires to possess their powers.  Blood hires the mercenary/assassin, Deathstroke (Miguel Ferrer), to capture the Titans, and to that end, Deathstroke has a spy inside the Titans.

For most of the 1980s, The New Teen Titans was one of DC Comics' most popular comic book titles, and for awhile, it was the publisher's most important and popular title.  “The Judas Contract” was The New Teen Titans' signature story line.  Teen Titans: The Judas Contract the movie is true to the spirit of the original story, both in depicting how close a team of disparate individuals can become and in depicting the sting of betrayal committed by one member against the rest of the team.

I really enjoyed this movie, and I am surprised that I liked all the characters and all the voice actors' performances.  Christina Ricci does stand out and conveys the pathos and conflict within Terra Markov, while Brandon Soo Hoo gives comedic depth and dramatic weight to Beast Boy.  I will note, however, that film director, Kevin Smith, appears as a cartoon version of himself, and Teen Titans: The Judas Contract could have done without him.

Fans of the direct-to-video, DC Comics animated films will find that Teen Titans: The Judas Contract is a high point in this long-running series.  Teen Titans fans will also find that, although the film changes the original story quite a bit, this version of The Judas Contract maintains the core of the comic book original, Teen Titans: The Judas Contract.

8 of 10

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

The text is copyright © 2020 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved.  Contact this blog or site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.


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