Teen Titans: The Judas Contract
DC Animation returns with Teen Titans: The Judas Contract, bringing forth another standalone tale featuring the younger superheroes in their own adventure that stands out as one of their best movies yet. Come inside to check out my full review.
The Judas Contract, as it's title suggests, is entirely focused on the Teen Titans and the team we saw in action for Teen Titans vs. The Justice League. Nightwing is back and working with the Titans in order to bring down HIVE, and it's dangerous leader, Brother Blood.
After taking down another HIVE base, the Titans get some much needed respite as they wait for the next lead in their investigation. This gives them a chance to train and bond with one another, including their newest member, Tara. The troubled, but incredibly powerful girl is something of an enigma with the team and struggles to fit in. While long time fans of the comic will know the reason why, I'll save that tidbit for those wishing to avoid spoilers.
Ultimately, the Titans find themselves up against an old enemy, Deathstroke and a powerful force that seeks to steal their powers from them. Couple this with some side plots relating to how these heroes cope with trying to have a normal life outside of their persona's, and you have plenty of engaging content to keep you glued to the screen.
Warner Bros. and DC Animation has a solid track record for their releases, which have brought fans iconic comic adaptations along with unique stories of their own (even establishing their own animated universe continuity along the way). While most have been solid films, not all of them have been winners. Their last outing, Justice League Dark, started off interesting, but failed to do much with it. Thankfully, they're back in true form with Teen Titans: The Judas Contract.
I've enjoyed most of the animated adventures, but a handful stand out to me amongst the crowd, not just for bringing a comic story to life in a solid way, but being legitimately engaging and fleshed out films. Too often, the failings in certain DC animated outings is a rushed feel that has little to do with actual run time. Sometimes they're too focused on the action and plot points and fail to connect you to the characters; instead relying on their storied history with fans to carry them through.
The Judas Contract really puts the focus on the characters and the relationships they have. It's the forefront of this film and features a slower build to the primary plot elements. While the front end of the movie is less action heavy (though there are still some cool sequences) than previous films, it's ultimately way better for it. I grew attached to the characters and their individual struggles; even if these weren't fully explored/resolved, their inclusion made the heroes feel like genuine multidimensional characters. As such, the story's final act resonated on a different level, eliciting legitimate emotions that give the finale a punch.
When you combine that level of character engagement with impressive action sequences (beautifully choreographed and animated) and a surprising amount of genuine humor, the result is a film I can find myself enjoying time and time again. The Judas Contract is the most invested and entertained I’ve been by a DC Animation since Justice League: Gods and Monster (still my favorite) and definitely worth watching.
The Bonus Features
Teen Titans: The Judas Contract comes loaded with these special features on the disc:
Sneak Peek - Batman and Harley Quinn: Sneak peek at the next DC Universe Original Movie, Batman and Harley Quinn, featuring the talented creators and voice cast.
· Featurette - Titanic Minds: Wolfman and Perez: This revealing documentary explores a creative partnership that has lasted decades as Marv Wolfman and George Pérez come together to discuss their careers and one of the most famous runs in Teen Titan history, The Judas Contract.
· Featurette - Villains United—Deathstroke: When the super-soldier Deathstroke appears, the forces of good will be in the fight of their lives. This short featurette reveals the origin and unique abilities of this villain.
· Additional Sneak Peeks
· From the DC Comics Vault - Two Bonus Cartoons
By now, the bonus content on the DC animated movies are becoming pretty standard/predictable. You’ll get a look ahead to what they’re working on next, some cartoon shorts from previous series and some featurettes that dive into the characters and comic history of the story being adapted.
That’s not to say these are bad, by any means, but at this point, if you’ve been picking these blu-rays up, you know what to expect. The content for The Judas Contract is no different and offer up some cool insights to the original Terra story arc in the comics, from the creators behind it. It’s fluff, to be sure, but good fluff nonetheless.
One of DC's Best Animated Films
While DC Animation has a great track record with solid films, The Judas Contract manages to stand out for it's willingness to put the characters first and give audiences a reason to care about them. This ultimately makes the story more engaging and for one of the best DC animated films I've seen yet. Definitely don't skip out on this one.