Warning: SPOILERS for Teen Titans Go! To The Movies
As anyone who watches Teen Titans Go! might tell you, every episode of the series is chock-full of nods to the classic comics and popular culture. Unsurprisingly, Teen Titans Go! To The Movies continues this trend, being more full of esoteric references than anything this side of a Mystery Science Theater 3000 marathon. Not bad for a show that many dismiss as being nothing but silly songs and fart jokes!
To that end, we've attempted to catalog some of the many easily-missed Easter eggs from the movie, as well as explain some of the more obscure bits of comic book trivia that got stashed in the background. Though it may take repeated viewings and pressings of the pause button to catch everything hidden in this movie once it is released for home viewing, it is hoped this may help fans appreciate how much smart humor the film contains... while still having a lot of silly songs and fart jokes.
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The Opening Short
There once was a time when it was routine for film studios to air a short cartoon before their main features. Animated movies are bringing that trend back and Teen Titans Go! To The Movies surprised viewers with a preview of this fall's reboot of DC Super Hero Girls. The new series, run by My Little Pony Executive Producer Lauren Faust, will present the same idea of a superhero team made up of teenage girls, but with the characters maintaining secret identities in a regular high school and a greater emphasis on the character's personal problems when they aren't fighting crime.
The short, The Late Batsby, focuses on Batgirl (Tara Strong) as she rushes to catch up with her friends when they go off to fight Mr. Freeze on a school-night, while she's stuck waiting for her dad to go to bed before she can sneak out. Those who are familiar with Faust's work may recognize this story, as the episode is a longer version of Time Waits For No Girl - the second episode of the Super Best Friends Forever series of shorts, which Faust produced for Cartoon Network's DC Nation animation block. This was the same block which first introduced Teen Titans Go!
The Opening Credit Production Logos
Usually the long display of production company logos at the start of a movie is something to be endured before the film finally starts. In the case of Teen Titans Go! To The Movies, they help to set the tone for what follows. The stoic WB Shield in the center of the Warner Animation logo serves as a maypole for an old-school Daffy Duck who acts, well, daffy, hopping around while shouting "Woo-hoo! Woo-hoo!" until he is finally wrangled by a disgruntled Porky Pig.
The new DC logo - which first appeared before the credits of Wonder Woman - is replicated with the characters animated in the style of Teen Titans Go! rather than the more serious artwork used in the original. We are then treated to a rapid-fire flipping of pages from classic George Perez Teen Titans comics (Perez co-created the characters of Cyborg, Raven and Starfire with writer Marv Wolfman) in a clear imitation of the classic Marvel Comics company logo. Before we see a logo, however, it is revealed that the pages really are from a comic book, being read by the seagull who frequently perches outside Titans Tower in Teen Titans Go!
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Welcome To Jump City - Safer Than Gotham!
The opening scene of the movie establishes Jump City - the metropolitan area that the Teen Titans sort-of protect when they aren't singing songs or making fart jokes. There are a number of nods to the original Teen Titans Go! series here, with a cameo by Beast Boy's homeless pal Sticky Joe and a smiling Plastic Man in the sign proclaiming the town's name. Jump City is declared "safer than Gotham" despite a surprising number of supervillain-owned businesses, such as Laz-R-Us Spa and Nails (note Ra's Al Ghul's face in the window in the picture above), Clay Face Dermatology (mud packs a speciality!) and the Body By Bane gym. The Captain Cold Cuts and Mr. Freeze Pops leave us cold, though.
Not to be outdone, there appear to be a number of superhero themed businesses as well. There's a Green Lantern symbol in the "O" of the hotel above Vibe Records, next door to a club called The Arrow Room, which features a green arrow in its sign. The Flash apparently lent his logo to a restaurant called Fastest Food. And for those looking for a more serious nod to the comics, the skyscrapers for Wayne Enterprises, LexCorp and Queen Industries can be seen in the distance and a later scene reveals the headquarters of Lord Technologies - the company of Justice League International founder Maxwell Lord.
Getting The Business End Of Things
More superhero and super-villain themed businesses are visible in the background, as the Teen Titans battle a bank robber called Balloon Man. While kids and juvenile minds may laugh at how Beast Boy punctures Balloon Man's butt with some well placed porcupine quills (resulting in a sizable fart noise, of course), the eagle-eyed fan may spot quite a few Easter Eggs as Balloon Man tries to cover his shame.
While we'd probably pass on any of the bread products at Sinestrolls and Buns, we'd gladly give Endless Fries a try even if their fry baskets weren't truly endless outside of the realm of The Dreaming. Darkseid is looking more glamorous than ever on the sign for Apokolips and Lashes - perfectly dressed for a night out at The Ror Shack. Then again, it might be a good idea to stay home, as the graffiti on the side of the Ace Chemical building suggests The Joker is on the loose again.
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Titans V. Superman: Brawn Of Justice
Balloon Man almost gets away, thanks to the Teen Titans stopping to sing an 80s-style rap song about who they are. This is prompted by Balloon Man mistaking them for obscure Justice League members at first, before asking if they are the Guardians of The Galaxy. Thankfully, Superman, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern John Stewart just happen by at that moment and put a stop to Balloon Man's crime spree as he's in the middle of robbing The Pyggy Bank - a nod to Batman villain Professor Pyg.
Superman is quick to give the Titans a dressing down for their not taking crime-fighting as seriously as they should. He also confirms their status as jokes in the superhero community. When they respond to this by throwing a rubber chicken in his face, The Man of Steel sighs, face-palms and mutters, "Somebody save me" in reference to the theme song of Smallville.
Superman, it should be noted, is voiced by actor Nicholas Cage. Cage is rather famous for his love of comic books in general and Superman in particular. He's such a huge Superman fan that he named his son (who can be heard playing the role of a young Bruce Wayne) Kal-El. Cage also almost played The Man of Steel in a live-action Superman movie that was to be directed by Tim Burton.
There's another blink-and-you'll miss it billboard gag here, with one billboard behind Superman promoting a Kingdom Come movie. Set in a dark future where the heroes of old have largely been replaced by a new generation of violent anti-heroes no better than the villains they fight, Kingdom Come details how Superman returns to the world he felt abandoned his ideals and fights to save it. The classic graphic novel by writer Mark Waid and artist Alex Ross is considered one of the greatest stories set in the DC Comics Universe and perhaps the number one pick of many comics fans when asked what stories they'd like to see adapted for film.
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