In the days leading up to seeing “Teen Titans Go! To the Movies,” my 8-year-old and I watched several episodes of the animated superhero comedy series,to have a better sense of what was to come. We discovered a pretty darn hilarious show, full of smart meta-humor, but also chock full of jokes any superhero-crazy kid can appreciate.
The animated big-screen spin-off is more of the same, and that’s a good thing. Fast, laugh-out-loud-funny, and surprisingly involving, “Teen Titans Go! To the Movies” is a summer sugar rush of cinematic absurdity.
What’s the storyline? Five teenage superheroes — Robin, Cyborg, Raven, Starfire and Beast Boy — collectively known as the Teen Titans, dream of Hollywood stardom. The Titans see an opportunity to join their fellow DC universe heroes on the big screen when they take on a maniacal villain.
What’s the rating? PG for action and rude humor, and that rating is right on the money. There is some mild superhero violence, with a couple of moments that would be far more harsh in a live-action film. Some adults may be troubled by the film’s preponderance of fart and poop jokes. We’re talking lots of fart and poop jokes. Needless to say, the kids on the audience were thrilled.
What’s the ideal viewing age? The “rude humor” and rather complex plotting are best for kids at least 7 and older. Some level of pop-culture savvy will help, as will knowing the characters and setting beforehand.
Will my little one sit through it? The kids and adults we saw “Teen Titans” with roared with laughter, and that’s a good indicator that the core audience of little ones and superhero fans will be satisfied. There are some genuinely great songs — especially Robin’s “My Superhero Movie” and the uproarious “Upbeat Inspirational Song About Life,” featuring Michael Bolton — and several jokes that are as funny as anything on-screen in 2018. I’m thinking specifically of a killer “Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice” takedown and a line about Gene Hackman in “Superman: The Movie.”
Is there anything else parents need to consider? One of the film's best jokes is also the one that will cause the most furrowed brows among parents in the audience. Seconds before the end credits roll, Robin hurriedly urges kids to ask their parents, well, the question no parent wants to answer. It’s a great moment ... but also a conversation you’ll be desperate to avoid on the drive home.