DC have been doing some pretty cool stuff to create their ANIMATED film universe, the latest addition was Teen Titans: The Judas Contract, directed by Sam Lieu. This is the first standalone Teen Titans film but probably not the last!
Now full disclosure, I have not read the original story, however, I am familiar with it. In my opinion, this was a solid adaption! It kept the main story points but also allowed it to fit in this pre-established world.
We have a great cast of characters in the team including Nightwing, Starfire, Robin, Beast Boy, Blue Beetle, Raven and Terra. Each character is handled pretty well- for once Robin doesn't hog the spotlight! Everyone has something to do and something to deal with. Their interactions with each other were enjoyable. It would have been easy to make certain moments of romance or fun really cheesy but to his credit, the director handles the moments really well. I found myself getting swept up in it.
From the opening scene you can already tell that the film is going to be really fun. The action sequences are surprisingly good! Thankfully, these films aren't pushed to be family friendly so we get blood and we occasionally get brutality, also the odd curse word! They take advantage of the team by showing each character properly utilising their abilities. Watching Beastboy fight is a highlight for me! His ability to transform into any animal is awesome and makes him a real force to be reckoned with.
Deathstroke is back for this film and I always enjoy seeing Slade on screen, whether that's on Arrow or on Ben Affleck's Instagram feed. So I'm glad he's back! He also, lived up to his reputation. His fight sequences are the exact reason why I am glad that isn't made kid-friendly. I mean it's not horribly graphic but there are some pretty tough fights!
The sexual tension between Slade and a certain much-younger character makes for uncomfortable viewing but this is a throwback to the original story. In the case of this film though, nothing sexual actually occurs. It's all part of Slade's devious plan. In the context of the film, it works.
Certain things in the film don't make a lot of sense. For example, and this is a minor spoiler, at the film's climax there is a machine that will transfer the abilities of the Titans into one person. However, three of the Titans are not super powered. Night wing and Robin are both highly trained and Blue Beetle has a specialised suit. So it makes very little sense to have them hooked up to the machine.
So in conclusion, I recommend checking this film out! For the most part, I find these animated films to be pretty mediocre: never really that bad but also never really that great. They are pretty easy to watch and just switch your brain off. This one on the other hand was a very pleasant surprise! Perhaps my enjoyment comes from having not read the source material, I'm not sure. It may also be that I enjoy when DC gives some exposure to lesser known characters. I like Batman as much as the next person (hell, probably a lot more than the next person actually!) but it's always a refreshing change of pace when we deal with lesser known heroes. If you haven't encountered these characters before then this is as good a place as any to start off with!
I'm giving Teen Titans: The Judas Contract a B+