“Teen Titans: The Judas Contract” Offers an Enjoyable Story About Betrayal – Blu-ray/DVD Review
Teen Titans: The Judas Contract adapts the famous comic book arc and starts a new chapter for the young team in the DC animated universe. It’s available right now on Digital HD and will be on Blu-ray/DVD on 18 April 2017!
This review contains minor spoilers for Teen Titans: The Judas Contract. You’ve been warned! Titans, go!
I’ve been looking forward to Teen Titan: The Judas Contract since the end of Justice League vs. Teen Titans. The post-credits scenes showed Tara Markov/Terra and it was obvious the sequel was going to adapt the still memorable The Judas Contract comic book arc.
Here’s the official synopsis:
Led by Starfire, the Teen Titans – Beast Boy, Raven, Blue Beetle, Robin and the just-returned Nightwing – have built a cohesive team in their never-ending battle against evil; but their newest teammate, the mysterious, and powerful Terra, may be altering that dynamic. Meanwhile, an ancient evil, Brother Blood, has awakened, and familiar foe Deathstroke is lurking in the shadows – both waiting to pounce. Ultimately, the Teen Titans will need to battle their enemies and their own doubts to unite and overcome the malicious forces around them, in this twisting tale of intrigue, adventure and deception.
The animated film opens five years ago and we see the original Teen Titans saving Starfire. The scene served as good starting point for new viewers. It also provided some context to the current team dynamics being led by Starfire.
The Judas Contract arc has a lot of content and trying to squeeze it all into an hour and a half long movie made the entire thing feel rushed. Raven didn’t get much to do which made me feel a bit disappointed but I can’t really complain as JL vs. TT was about her.
TT: TJC was about Tara and the writers did a good job fleshing her out as a character, and making viewers feel sad when she met her inevitable fate.
The Teen Titans have to face two villains in the film. There’s Brother Blood (Gregg Henry) who wants to drain their powers to become a god and then there’s Deathstroke (the late Miguel Ferrer) who’s being paid to kidnap them.
On top of the villains, our young heroes are also dealing with personal issues. There are a couple of subplots that help flesh out characters and make them more than teen heroes. While I wasn’t a fan of the Starfire/Nightwing romance, I really enjoyed the focus on Blue Beetle’s relationship with his family, and Tara trying to deal with her past.
Christina Ricci’s voice work for Tara is amazing. There’s a sense of wickedness in her which is supported by the tragic events she had to face. She shows a lot of vulnerability in front of Deathstroke and while their relationship might not sit well with some viewers it makes sense considering they aren’t the good guys.
Now, I know that some fans aren’t happy about Deathstroke’s past being linked to the League of Assassins in DC’s animated universe but I kind of understand the decision because the writers felt the need to link the characters together somehow.
There are a lot of narratives the writers are trying to handle in a single feature-film and yes, it leaves much to be desired from the team members you’re a fan of. Like I mentioned, Raven didn’t do much and Damian was taken off the field too. However, being a fan of the Teen Titans I’m all for new installments being released annually which not only adapt other comic books stories but also give certain characters time to shine.
TT: TJC makes for an enjoyable blend of humor and action. The comedy might feel a bit corny at times but it works with the underlying darker tale the movie is trying to tell. Director Sam Liu does a great job keeping the fight scenes dynamic, especially Nightwing’s fight with Deathstroke.
Coming to the Blu-ray/DVD Limited Edition Deluxe Giftset. The film looks as well as sounds amazing. With the proper home theater setup, you’ll be able to enjoy the movie a lot more. The animation is crisp which it definitely needed to be during the fast-paced fight scenes. Whether you enjoy the story or not, the DC animated home releases do deliver when it comes to specs.
I’m all for special features and the Blu-ray/DVD Giftset release offers just that. The most enjoyable bonus content is the “Titanic Minds: Wolfman and Perez” Featurette. It’s awesome that the original creators of The Judas Contract arc were able to do a featurette together. Writer Marv Wolfman and artist George Perez offer a lot of information. We get to know about the origins of The New Teen Titans as well as the creation of the memorable arc. The featurette is an enjoyable look at how comic book stories are created, etc. Even though it lasted for about 25 minutes I wanted it to go on for a bit longer. Comic book fans will definitely appreciate it.
There’s also the “Villains United—Deathstroke” Featurette which is about 10 minutes long. It talked about Deathstroke as a character and felt more aimed at viewers who aren’t too familiar with him.
You can also enjoy two episodes from the Teen Titans animated series. Even though Teen Titans Go! is fun to watch (don’t hate me) I wouldn’t mind DC rebooting the original series. The bonus features also include a preview of the upcoming Batman and Harley Quinn animated movie. The animation style reminded me of Batman: The Animated Series so I’m looking forward to it.
Talking about Harley, there’s a new statue in her Red, White, and Black series which might interest you.
The giftset also comes with a Blue Beetle figurine which looks cool. JL vs TT had a Damian figure while Justice League: Dark had Constantine. I hope they decide to do female figures too.
I also did an unboxing video of the Limited Edition Deluxe Giftset if you want to check that out. Also, make sure to read the announcement post for more details about the Blu-ray and DVD 18 April 2017 release.
All in all, Teen Titans: The Judas Contract is another enjoyable addition to DC animated universe even it if leaves a lot to be desired from some characters. You can use #JudasContract to join the converstaion with other fans.
Some thoughts and questions:
- I still can’t understand why they gave Tara the whole scene where she took the Titans to one of Brother Blood’s hideouts. Raven could’ve simply teleported everyone.
- Though it looked cool, Raven using her soul self to attack two fodder enemies was overkill.
- I liked seeing Jaime’s family and a bit of representation with his sister’s Quinceañera.
- Brother Blood’s desire to silence the media felt relevant to the kind of world we currently live in.
- I liked how the movie showed that human beings are the deadliest of monsters out there. What they did to Tara was scary because you know some humans are capable of doing just that and worse.
- I can’t get over Tara’s essential-female-makeover when she revealed her loyalties. Why do female characters have to cut their hair and change their outfit to show everyone they’ve gone through some sort of emotional growth? I just found the whole thing hilarious.
- Raven bringing a puppy for Damian was cute.
- The post-credits scene introduced Jericho. I wonder if the next film will mention his bisexuality.
- While I’m excited for Donna Troy I don’t want the third film to try and handle a lot of narrative like TT: TJC did. It would be better for DC to increase the film’s length by a few minutes.
- Kevin Smith’s cameo as Kevin Smith was a nice touch.
- I still feel robbed of the Tara vs Raven fight scene in the tower!
Have you watched Teen Titans: The Judas Contract yet? What did you think? Let us know.
Note: I was provided a copy of Teen Titans: The Judas Contract for review by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. The opinions are my own.
Farid has a Masters in Psychology and is the author of numerous books including Arousing the Legacy, Missing in Somerville, The Game Master of Somerville, and The Escaped Murderer of Somerville. He gives us insight on comics, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies. He reviews shows such as Gotham and Teen Wolf.