Once more I return to the realm of DTV takes of comics. This time I’m looking at a film I demanded exist, only to learn it was coming within 48 hours of the demand. Was I right to want it?
Teen Titans: The Judas Contract (2017, 84 minutes)
Plot: The Teen Titans discover a traitor in their midst while trying to stop a cult leader from taking over the world.
Source Material: This is based on one of the great stories of the 1980s and it’s honestly not all that faithful. The broad strokes are there with the betrayal plot and HIVE’s ultimate goal but several key points are changed. One of the big events of this story in the comics was the dawn of Dick Grayson as Nightwing but as that was already the status quo in the animated films, it doesn’t occur here. Deathstroke’s son Jericho gets zero mention, a huge loss. Brother Blood is added to the plot. Damian Wayne is here too. All that said, it’s not so unfaithful it feels like a betrayal. It’s just more Civil War than The Dark Knight Returns on film.
Animation: Well, I’m stuck in the same rut these are I fear. Same flash animation that looks like anime but not quite. The film is much brighter though, even on my not as bright tablet. But look, WB isn’t giving them any money to get better. Don’t expect them to look better. It’s serviceable but far from feature grade.
Script: Just because the movie takes liberties doesn’t mean this area isn’t solid. Ernie Altbacker does a fine job here, using the slightly longer running time to establish a nice pace and strong characters. The arcs each character has are quite effective making the movie feel like a real movie on this front. It’s a nicely fleshed out film.
Voice Acting: Solid here as well. Returning cast members Stuart Allan, Sean Maher, Brandon Soo Hoo, and Kari Wahlgren once more do a fine job. Christina Ricci is a fantastic choice as Terra, selling the agonizing self hate. Miguel Ferrer, in one of his final roles, makes Deathstroke the kind of villain he was a master at. Gregg Henry is fine as Brother Blood. Taissa Farmiga continues to bug me though, giving a weirdly unemotional Raven even when she’s supposed to be emotional.
Final Verdict: 3/5. I really wanted to put this higher given my hopes for it but it’s ultimately good missing out on great. I really have to blame that on the animation. It’s flat looking with poor character reactions. Also, while I’m lenient on the adaptation due to limits of a shared universe, losing things like Jericho keep it from truly scratching the itch. That said, it’s still a very entertaining sit and I do recommend it. Not the comic but pretty damn good.