As a parent, I believe there are two types of kids' movies. The one where you spend 80 minutes mentally running through the list of chores you need to do while simultaneously wishing your kids would hurry up and turn into annoying teenagers who don't want you anywhere near them, and the type where you sit and laugh for 80 minutes revelling in the fact you have kids and you can watch as many great kids movies as you like because the movie makers remember that adults have to watch as well.
Teen Titan Go! To the Movies is definitely one of the latter.
My three girls – aged between 6 and 11 often watch the Teen Titans cartoon on television. I drift in and out of the room, maybe I occasionally stop and watch a few minutes but I've never felt compelled to sit and watch a whole episode. So my expectations of the movie weren't set very high.
Apart from the rather annoying mini cartoon that preceded the main show, and a bit of dragging in the last third, I enjoyed the movie considerably. There were no special effects. No CGI. This was line animation at its most basic, old school even, but it was backed up by a decent storyline and some great gags that were genuine laugh out loud moments.
It's not highbrow humour by any stretch – there are plenty of butt jokes and an entire scene about a toilet – but the adults were laughing just as hard as the kids (although maybe the parents were laughing nervously because they KNEW someone would have to clean that toilet).
The plot is as such: Robin and his team of teenaged heroes have come to the sad conclusion that every other superhero in the universe have their own movie – even Alfred and the Bat Car get their own movies – but no one wants to make a movie about a Sidekick.
Teen Titans Go! To The Movies Theatrical Release poster, courtesy Wikipedia
This obsession leads Robin and the Teen Titans on a course of action with admittedly questionable moral boundaries to get a big name movie director to notice them, but when interspersed with spoofs on beloved 80s movies and ongoing jokes about the superhero universe, it's hard not to be swept up in the craziness.
There are even some big breakout show tunes – and who doesn't wish their live was a musical?
This is a movie which doesn't take itself - or the entire superhero mythology - seriously, which after all the dark and gritty movies to come out of late, is a refreshing as a cup of Fanta after a week of nothing but stale cold tea. Stan Lee, famous for his cameos in Marvel movies, even makes a hilarious appearance, despite Teen Titans belonging to the DC universe. 'I just love making cameos' he says to the camera.
Teen Titans Go! To the Movie is surprisingly smart for such a wonderfully dumb film. It's clever with its jokes, even when the jokes are about butts and what comes out of them, and yes, there is name calling and cartoonish nudity – but that's every night at our place, so I didn't find it offensive. It's the little things that make it clever – using pollution to murder Aquaman (sorry, spoiler), or giving Batman's mum some expensive pearls before they make that fateful trip down the dark alleyway.
While I can see that perhaps joking about funny ways to remove superheroes may not be everyone's cup of (stale cold) tea, if you're a parent who has to accompany kids to the movies these holidays, then you'd do a lot worse than having a giggle at Teen Titans Go! To the Movies.