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Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Superhero DVD Of The Week: Teen Titans - The Judas Contract (2017)


I've said it before, and I'm sure I'll say it again, while my beloved Fantastic Four introduced young me to the concept of superheroes and comics, it was the legendary Wolfman/Perez run on The New Teen Titans that turned me into a serious collector.

And The Judas Contract arc from that run was the first comic book tale to have a deeper emotional impact on me - beyond sheer, breathless, excitement. It was a genuinely upsetting read for teenage me.

So, I came to the latest DC Comics' animated movie, released this week over here and based on that powerful story, with a lot of baggage and a degree of trepidation as to whether it would live up to my high expectations.

But I needn't have fretted. Teen Titans: The Judas Contract is not only the finest of this range of animated films to date, but an incredible tribute to the Wolfman/Perez original classic.

Its backstory updated to fit into the animated movie continuity (e.g. the addition of Damien Wayne and the new Blue Beetle), the film is a marvellous character-driven examination of the interpersonal relationships of this group of young superheroes, the dynamics of family, and the importance of trust, as well as a cracking superhero yarn in its own right.

The Teen Titans are investigating a sinister cult, led by the immortal and deranged Brother Blood (voiced by Gregg Henry) and its links to the villainous H.I.V.E. organisation, little realising they - in turn - are being surveilled by Blood's agent, the mercenary Deathstroke (voiced by the late, great, Miguel Ferrer), for his own ends.

Even though his motivation isn't quite as layered as it was in the comics. Deathstroke stands out as a most amoral, manipulative, asshole, a disturbing and arrogant supervillain for the ages, thanks to Ferrer's performance; the super-assassin's relationship with his young protégé being particularly unnerving and despicable.

The film also boasts an incredible - and perfect - voice cast as the Titans themselves, including Wednesday Addams aka Christina Ricci as Tara Markov; Firefly's Sean Maher as Nightwing; From Dusk Til Dawn's Brandon Soo Hoo as Beast Boy; American Horror Story's Taissa Farmiga as Raven; and Kari Wahlgren as Starfire.

And yes, its climax - even though I knew it was coming - was almost as big an emotional gut punch as in the source material.

Teen Titans: The Judas Contract is a spectacular addition to DC Comics' growing animated canon (after a couple of less than impressive outings) that has, hopefully, set a new standard for their output.

2 comments:

  1. The Judas Contract is one of my favourite comic stories, but I like this update and retelling.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Same here, this version worked well.

      Delete

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