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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Teen Titans Go! To the Movies is based on the popular Cartoon Network series about five young superhero misfits that's known for its wink-wink comedy and sometimes rude humor. The movie stays true to that spirit, cleverly parodying superhero movies within a superhero movie (Robin, voiced by Scott Menville, is obsessed with getting his own film). Also true to the series, the punchlines feature lots of potty humor (one scene is literally about a toilet), and there's frequent superhero action. It's animated and cartoonish, which affects the impact, but weapons -- including guns, missiles, swords, lasers, and more -- are used frequently, buildings explode, and characters are in peril. Language is limited to insults like "losers" and "stupid," and other than a couple of glimpses of bare bottom, there's no sexual content. While the main characters (Robin, Starfire, Raven, Cyborg, and Beast Boy) genuinely care about each other, their moral compass isn't fully developed. Moments played for laughs include a hit-and-run car accident where the creature they hit appears to be dead, and a scene in which they take out a future superhero when he's a baby (they later undo it, but not based on moral reasons). But in the end, friendship and teamwork triumph.
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What's the story?
TEEN TITANS GO! TO THE MOVIES is a meta musical comedy starring the young superheroes from the Cartoon Network series. After being overlooked for his own superhero movie, Robin (voiced by Scott Menville) is determined to get Hollywood director Jade Wilson (Kristen Bell) to make a film about him. The problem is that Robin and his band of superhero buddies -- galaxy girl Starfire (Hynden Walch), demon-daughter Raven (Tara Strong), half-robot Cyborg (Khary Payton), and shape-shifter Beast Boy (Greg Cipes) -- are usually more focused on conquering their hunger than conquering villains, and no one takes them seriously. The group steps up their game, complete with funny musical numbers, in search of finding an arch nemesis whose name sounds dastardly. But as they check off the boxes of superherodom, they face a dilemma -- and a villain -- that may bring an end to the Teen Titans as a team.
Is it any good?
This animated adventure comedy cleverly pokes fun at superhero movies while also pulling back the curtain on all the standard elements/clichés of superhero movies. The technique teaches kids that there's a formula to making superhero films, which may result in more critical thinking and less impact from some of the darker moments when they watch those films in the future. Warner Brothers and DC Comics should be applauded for being in on the joke, winking at the audience for their own missteps and allowing moneymakers like Batman and Superman to be satirized.
Teen Titans Go! To the Movies is an hour and a half of hilarity, with solid jokes aimed at both parents and kids. But when the characters say that their sense of humor is immature, they aren't kidding. Potty humor abounds, with many jokes centered on the rear end and things that come out of it. The musical numbers are as funny as they are snappy. And celebrities from across the spectrum are cast in minor roles; one of the film’s delights is the game of trying to identify the voice behind the character. By the time the credits roll to tell you whether you guessed right or wrong, you'll have spent a thoroughly entertaining hour and a half.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what happens when Robin measures himself against others' achievements in Teen Titans Go! To the Movies. How does it affect his opinion of himself and his friends? Do people fall into this trap in real life? What role does social media play?
At one point, Robin is told, "fame is so much more than friendship." Why do you think society admires fame? What are the pros and cons of being famous? Which do you think matters more?
How did the characters in Teen Titans Go! To the Movies demonstrate teamwork? Why is teamwork important? What's hard for you when you work with a team, and what's easy?
Is it notable that the female Teen Titans are on equal footing with their male teammates? If so, why? How does that compare to other superhero teams you're familiar with?
Possible spoiler alert: The villain plans to brainwash people of the world via their devices. Do you think the movie is trying to say something about people's relationship to screens? Are we at risk of being manipulated by what we see on them? What's the best way to prevent that from happening?
- In theaters: July 27, 2018
- On DVD or streaming: October 30, 2018
- Cast: Scott Menville, Greg Cipes, Tara Strong, Will Arnett, Kristen Bell
- Directors: Aaron Horvath, Peter Rida Michail
- Studio: Warner Bros.
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Superheroes, Friendship, Misfits and Underdogs, Music and Sing-Along
- Character Strengths: Teamwork
- Run time: 88 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: action and rude humor
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