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Western Animation / Justice League vs. Teen Titans

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Justice League vs. Teen Titans is a 2016 movie of the DC Universe Animated Original Movies and part of the DC Animated Movie Universe. This movie marks the first appearance of the Teen Titans in this setting, as well as the villain Trigon.

After numerous attempts at trying to rein him in, Batman, with the aid of the Justice League, has set up an intervention for the still-rebellious Damian Wayne - he is sent to join the Teen Titans, a group of super-powered teenagers who are trying to find their place in this super-powered world. Despite this, Damian's still being rebellious, refusing to really play nice with who he refers to as "kids". However, not everyone's all squeaky clean - one of the members, Raven, is haunted by the fact that her father, Trigon, is on his way to this plane and she is the key to bringing him here. When the League discovers this key piece of information, they come to spirit her away. However, that's something the kids are not willing to let happen. Can the two teams work together to save the day or will Trigon stomp all over everything?

This film reunites the Bat-cast and Justice League cast save for Green Lantern and introduces Taissa Farmiga as Raven, Jake T. Austin as Blue Beetle, Brandon Soo Hoo as Beast Boy, Kari Wahlgren as Starfire and Jon Bernthal as Trigon.

The film is available for streaming on Hulu

Here is the character sheet.

Tropes in this film:

  • Adaptational Modesty: Following the Teen Titans (2003) cartoon and her solo New 52 series, this version of Starfire's hero costume probably covers her up more than any prior outfit.
  • Adaptation Distillation: Both the Titans themselves and the story take far more from Teen Titans (2003) than the original comics, Raven especially. That said, the film is partly based on The New Teen Titans #3-5, in which the Teen Titans had their first conflict with Trigon along with a mind-control-fuelled clash with the Justice League, and the first arc of J. T. Krul's Teen Titans run, in which Damian Wayne joined the team.
  • Adults Are Useless: Zigzagged — Batman can't keep Damian on a leash forever and thus opts to send him to the Titans to cool him off. However, when the potential for Raven's danger is made real, the League steps in, not wanting a threat like this to spread. That last bit is vastly different from both the comics and previous animated variations, which they are either ignored or Adapted Out.
  • Advertised Extra: Nightwing is heavily mentioned in some of the ads for the movie, but only shows up for a few minutes to drop Damian off at Titans Tower and get in some friendly banter with Starfire.
  • Aesop Amnesia: Part of Damian's development in this film is coming to the realisation that his grandfather, Ra's al Ghul and the League of Assassins were not as benevolent or righteous as Damian was indoctrinated to believe, which he finally grasps when its revealed Ra's supposedly made a Deal with the Devil under Trigon. If he hadn't already been through two movies showing how bad the League really were, this would have had far more weight.
  • Age Lift: The Titans are usually depicted as around the same age, here Starfire, Cyborg, and Dick are all 18-20 whereas the younger members Blue Beetle and Beast Boy are 13-16 and Raven claims she's 14-18 unlike in her previous incarnation.
  • Apologetic Attacker: Superman apologizes to a corrupted Flash just before snapping his leg to break the demon's hold on him. Flash is unhappy about his choice of limb, naturally.
  • Batman Gambit: Trigon anticipated that the League would try to take Raven, and had his corruptors waiting to grab them all at once.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Atomic Skull tells Superman that when last they fought, he sensed Superman holding back, being a good guy and all. He states that now, Superman doesn't have to play nice, because Skull has gotten "a lot, lot stronger." Unfortunately for Atomic Skull, Superman's currently possessed by Trigon's minions, and has no intention of holding back or playing nice. Superman demolishes Skull in ten seconds flat, then nearly beats him to death before Batman and Wonder Woman intervene.
  • Big Bad: Trigon.
  • Birds of a Feather: Raven and Damian bond over the shared circumstance of a past where they were groomed for something they no longer want.
  • Break the Haughty: After receiving a blast of plasma to the face, Damian starts to be a little friendlier to the Titans and apologizes to Blue Beetle for his actions.
  • Brick Joke: When the two arrive at Titans Tower, Dick tells Damian to try not to behead anyone. Guess what he does to Ra's Al Ghul at the end of the movie.
    • Diana and Clark go to see a movie, and she complains that the female lead only seemed to exist to be rescued by the leading man. At the climax, when Superman rescues Wonder Woman from Trigon's influence, she quips "Just like in the movies."
  • Broken Pedestal: Damien discovers his grandfather was in league with Trigon.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Damian has the bright idea to pick a fight with Blue Beetle, despite knowing for a fact that the Scarab is a sociopath. When Damian manages to hit Blue with an explosive, Scarab takes over and gives him a face full of plasma, coming very close to killing him.
  • Call-Back: When Beast Boy laughs at the idea that Damian has a way to take down Superman, Damian gives the “I know something you don’t” that he inherited from his father, who had an almost identical encounter with Green Lantern in Justice League: War when Green Lantern sarcastically asks Batman if he’s tracking Superman on his own personal satellite. The only difference is Damian gives a tiny smirk while Bruce, par for the course, remains deadpan.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: When Damian stabs him with a shard of Kryptonite, Superman's first response after being freed from possession is to calmly tell him that he can take it out of him now.
  • Casting Gag: In the French dub, Robin/Damian Wayne is voiced by Henri Bungert, who also voiced the younger version of Bruce Wayne in Gotham.
  • Composite Character: The Titans team, which uses a formation similar to the more popular incarnations from Teen Titans (2003), except the Robin is clearly Damian and Cyborg is with the Justice League instead, with Blue Beetle filling his place as a Teen Titan. Subverted at the end with Cyborg happily hanging out with the Titans anyway.
  • Covers Always Lie: Just like the title. The title and Cover makes it seem like Headbutting Heroes is at play but this film is actually an adaptation of the Trigon story The only skirmish between the two groups is caused by Demonic Possession and doesn't last long See Never Trust a Title below for details
  • Cool Big Sis: Starfire to the other Titans, but to Raven most of all.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Damian tags the other Titans with tracking devices just in case. He also brings his katana to the fair on the Titans' night out, and of course he ends up needing it.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The corrupted League beats the Titans fairly quickly.
    • Also newly posessed Superman vs. Atomic Skull, it takes all of 20 seconds for Supes to beat Skull within an inch of his life.
  • Danger Room Cold Open: The Titans are introduced by a training session.
  • Dark Secret: Just like the Ravens of other continuities, you got her and her connection to Trigon.
  • Deal with the Devil: Ra's Al-Ghul made one with Trigon, getting to come back to life in exchange for killing Raven should she come near the crystal that could seal him once more. Although when Damian decapitates him, he turns into one of Trigon's demonic sons, implying it was all just a lie.
  • Deliberate Injury Gambit: When the corruptors try to get the rest of the League, Batman uses a nerve toxin on himself to prevent it.
  • Demonic Possession: Trigon's corruptors can possess any living entity, provided it is undamaged. The only way to get rid of them is a sufficient injury, like a broken limb or poison, or Wonder Woman's lasso.
  • Defrosting Ice King: Robin gradually lightens up over the course of the film
    • Downplayed with Raven as she does less defrosting than she did in the Teen Titans (2003) cartoon, as although she is still reserved, it's not emphasized as much as in that series. Although she does get mild Ship Tease with Damian, oddly enough
  • Did You Just Romance Cthulhu?: Raven's mother was part of a cult that summoned a demon, Trigon. She immediately proceeded to have sex with Trigon, (he was in human form at the time; at least, he was when they started,) which led to Raven's birth.
  • Dragged Off to Hell: Not quite to Hell, since they're already there, but Ra's Al-Ghul gets grabbed by a bunch of angry souls and dragged into one of the pillars of Trigon's temple. Damian cuts his head off for good measure, which is dragged in with the rest of him.
  • Dramatic Irony: When Damian is practicing his sword skills in his room and he throws his sword against the wall that goes through Beast Boy's room, Beast Boy scolds Damian for mishandling his sword saying "you can put an eye out with that thing" and asks him "didn't your mother tell you never to play with knives?".
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Starfire's voice can be heard in both Batman vs. Robin and Batman: Bad Blood during phone calls to Dick Grayson. An obscured photo of her also appears in both.
  • 11th-Hour Superpower: While in Hell, Beast Boy gains access to stronger, demonic forms which aid in the battle against the legions of Hell.
  • Evasive Fight-Thread Episode: It's right there in the title. Raven has info on Trigon that the Justice League wants, and the Teen Titans don't want to give her up. Fight! Except not really. When the fight is about to start, Trigon's Corruptors choose this moment to possess the Justice League. Only the possessed Leaguers are fought; the League and the Titans never properly come to blows at any point.
  • Expy: Ra's al Ghul is this to the animated Slade Wilson.
    • Jaime has had some ties to the Teen Titans in the past, but here it's rather obvious he is a stand-in for Cyborg as a Titans member, who is a Justice League founder in this continuity.
  • Facial Horror: Even if he was trained by the League of Shadows, pit a human boy without superpowers against a berserk Powered Armor that prefers to kill its opponents and he gets half his face blown off.
  • Former Teen Rebel: Raven's mother was, which she joins the cult as a result.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: To Raven's dismay, Beast Boy forgot his Magic Pants for the Danger Room Cold Open.
  • Fusion Dance: In Hell, Trigon's sons fuse into a three-headed, fire-breathing dragon.
  • Happiness Is Mandatory: Starfire's idea of a team-building exercise and helping Damian bond with the Titans? Taking them all out to a carnival.
    Starfire: Tonight, we are to enjoy some mandatory "fun."
  • Headbutting Heroes: The League and the Titans over Raven, though in practice, it doesn't last very long. Not counting Demonic Possession, of course.
  • Healing Hands: Raven is able to heal Damian when the Scarab fries him with a plasma blast.
  • Honorary True Companion: Cyborg is actually not a member of the Titans in this incarnation, but fights with them through the climax. The ending even shows that he's started to regularly hang out with the team.
  • Hour of Power: Trigon's sons can manifest themselves in the mortal realm without the need for a host, but they have a limited amount of power that runs out eventually, quicker if they have to fight.
  • Hijacked by Ganon: Though he doesn't take over story, there's very little, if any, foreshadowing of Ra's appearance in the movie, so it comes out of left field when he does... assuming it's actually him and not just a Corruptor taking his form to mess with Damian's head, as the ending of the fight implies.
  • I Am Not Left-Handed: When Damian and Jaime go at it, Damian questions if its him fighting or the scarab. Jaime's reply? "You better hope it's me." This is a darker variant of the trope, in that Jaime isn't boasting about his own skill; he's warning Damian about the fact that the Scarab doesn't have his sense of restraint, as proven when the first thing it does upon seizing control is to go for a kill-shot on Damian!
  • I Just Shot Marvin in the Face: Damian throws a katana through a wall when frustrated, nearly impaling Beast Boy. Presumably, his Training from Hell didn't involve basic safety rules.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Damian aces the ring toss game at the fair by throwing six rings at once and landing them all. Raven's no slouch herself, throwing them individually but still making every one. Beast Boy also proves a crack shot at the duck game.
  • Instant Expert: Damian picks up the DanceDanceRevolution-expy pretty quickly, even saying he's a quick study. As a game of timing and coordination, this isn't too surprising.
  • Internal Reveal: Jaime and Garfield just now learned that Damian is Batman's son when the Justice League arrives to take Raven away and Damian calls Batman "father".
  • It's All My Fault: Batman blames himself for letting the corrupted Superman get away, since if he had used a larger sample of Kryptonite it would have freed Superman.
  • Jerkass Realization: Getting blasted in the face by Jaime sets one off in Damian.
  • Kaiju: Trigon's short time on Earth shows him as one doing little more than unstoppably plowing through the Justice League, but without using other powers until Raven and the Titans participate, likely due to having only just escaped his imprisonment and still in the process of regaining his powers.
  • Legion of Doom: The Trope Namer shows up in the beginning, attacking the new Hall of Justice. The roster includes Lex Luthor, Cheetah, Weather Wizard, Toyman (here referred to as Toymaster), and Solomon Grundy.
  • Loophole Abuse: Raven says that Trigon cannot destroy the crystal which was used to seal him. An undead Ra's Al-Ghul, on the other hand, smashes it with one good sword swing. It isn't quite enough, though, since even the tiniest shard of the original crystal can still be used as a crystal in its own right to trap Trigon.
  • MacGuffin Girl: Being half-human and half Trigon's daughter, Raven is the bridge which will allow him to cross over to Earth.
  • Magic Pants: Beast Boy has his shapeshifting clothes, though Hilarity Ensues when he forgets them when the team is first introduced.
  • Male Gaze: From Dick's perspective. During Dick and Starfire's video chat, Starfire unintentionally puts her cleavage too close to the webcam when she's picking up her hairbrush off the table causing Dick to look away in embarrassment. And when she lays on her couch, the webcam only shows her legs which leaves Dick too distracted to resume their conversation for a moment.
  • Malignant Plot Tumor: The movie's so insistent on selling Damian and Raven as Kindred Spirits (on the grounds that they both have evil lineage) that it actually forgets that the only reason Damian's even in this movie is so he can learn humility and teamwork; instead he spends the climax confronting his evil ancestry... yet again. On his own, too!
  • Moment Killer: Dick trying to have an intimate conversation with Kory is ruined when she gets an idea about how to integrate Damian from his reminder of the fun they had.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Starfire, even with a more conservative look still manages to show off her cleavage and legs almost constantly, not to mention getting her very own Magical Girl Transformation (which, likely not coincidentally, happened to be the longest part of her, Beast Boy, and Blue Beetle's shared Transformation Sequence). Wonder Woman is seen wearing nothing but a towel when on the phone with Superman.
  • Mythology Gag: Many shout-outs to the Teen Titans (2003) animated series:
    • Raven has gray skin and the hairstyle like she did in the animated series, and even wears a cloak and Leotard of Power similar to the ones she wore there. (Interestingly, this PG-13 version has stockings while the Lighter and Softer older series version was bare-legged.) We also get to clearly hear "Azarath, Metrion, Zinthos" among her Magic Words at one point.
    • Starfire's design basically looks like an older version of her cartoon incarnation, such as having straight hair instead of the big bushy '80s Hair of her original comics version. Her starbolts are green as well (though the 2003 animated series isn't the only incarnation to have green starbolts, just the first.)
    • Starfire yells out the cartoon's Battle Cry of "Titans, go!" rather than "Titans, together!", the phrase used in the comics.
    • Star's English is much better than in the series, but she still seems to stumble a bit over idioms.
    • One scene where Robin and Raven are sitting on the ferris wheel together at the fair echoes a scene from the TV series where a different Robin was in a similar setting with a different love interest, namely Starfire.
    • Check out the line-up of Titans on the cover art. Cyborg, Starfire, Raven, Beast Boy, and (a) Robin. Look familiar?
    • This is more a nod to the comics, but despite the film following the New 52 retcon of Cyborg being a founding member of the Justice League, he is shown to be very close with the Teen Titans, and also sides with the Titans against the mind-controlled Justice League. This is a nod to the fact that Cyborg was a very prominent member of the Titans in the comics before joining the League, and the New 52 made him a founding member of the League.
    • Beast Boy turns into a demonic, werewolf-like creature with superhuman strength, resembling a more angular version of his Beast Within from the animated series, which was only used twice. Once in its debut episode, and once against Trigon.
    • One of the forms BB takes when in Trigon's realm looks similar to a genomorph from Young Justice (2010).
    • When Raven heals Damian and takes a look through his mind, she sees an older version of him surrounded by a city in flames, holding two guns and sporting a shirt with a Bat-emblem, a nod towards Batman #666 and the Bad Future there.
    • At the end of the film, the tiny gemstone that Raven places on her forehead to maintain Trigon's seal looks exactly like the chakra-ornamenting gemstone her incarnation in the 2003 series sported - which also represented her connection to Trigon. "The gem will be his portal," etc.
    • During the opening battle against the Legion of Doom Superman lifts (and throws) a green car in a homage to the iconic Action Comics #1 cover.
  • Never Trust a Title: The title makes it seem like the Justice League and the Teen Titans were going to have some conflict with each other and get into a fight. After Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and the various projectsnote  similar to Civil War (2006) at Marvel, it was easy to believe this film would follow the trend of heroes trying to murder each other. They do fight, but only because the Justice Leaguers were under Demonic Possession and the fight was only brief and the main conflict is with Trigon.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
    • Damian's trick with the Bat Plane in the beginning does stop the corrupted Weather Wizard, but Batman is annoyed that he disobeyed orders and cost them the chance to interrogate him before the corruptor abandoned him. Not that it matters considering it can just leave the body at any moment.
    • When she was younger, Raven got the bright idea to summon Trigon to better understand her heritage. Naturally, he laid waste to Azarath as soon as he was summoned. He takes her to his hell dimension which leads to...
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Raven trapping Trigon in the crystal in the first place because he took her to his hell dimension.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: When the corruptor finally manages to turn Superman, the first victim is Atomic Skull, who had the unfortunate luck of committing a crime right at that moment.
    • Later on, the possessed Justice League hands one over to the Titans, big time. Damian flat-out states that the only reason they survived was because Batman managed to nearly fatally poison himself before he could be possessed. Given what Batman's knowledge of basically everyone could have allowed Trigon to do concerning strengths and weaknesses, Damian was probably right.
  • No-Sell: Trigon is utterly immune to everything the League throws at him. All he does is step back a bit.
  • Not in the Face!: Weather Wizard asks this of the Flash once he's been disarmed. Flash obliges... with a couple dozen body blows in two seconds.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: This is something that is pointed out between Damian and Raven concerning their families. They also have a similar way of thinking such as Raven casting protection spells and Damian putting trackers on the team both doing so without bothering to tell anyone.
  • Off with His Head!: Damian chops off quite a few heads, but they're all demons/undead and thus ok.
  • Oh, My Gods!: When the corrupters are taking over the Justice League and later when Trigon is rising from the portal Wonder Woman says "Great Hera."
  • One of the Kids: Despite being a member of the League, Cyborg is this to the Titans. As the directors point out, you can't share pizza with Batman, but you share pizza with the Titans, they'll love you forever.
  • Pet the Dog: After winning a novelty light-up sword at the fair, Damian sees a child who is interested in the toy and gives it to her.
  • Precision F-Strike: From, of all people, Superman, after being hit by an unexpectedly demon-possessed Weather Wizard:
    Superman: What the hell did he hit me with?
  • Properly Paranoid: After being healed by Raven and getting a peek at Trigon in her mind, Damian doubts her claims that it was just a nightmare and goes searching through Starfire's records for clues about her past. Starfire herself admits she should've learned a bit more about Raven after the fight with Trigon's sons.
  • Ramming Always Works: Damian rams the corrupted Weather Wizard with the Bat Plane, ordinance and all. The explosion knocks him out.
  • Refusal of the Call: Jaime and Beast Boy attempt to recruit Cyborg into the Teen Titans at the end. Cyborg says it was nice, but with him on the Justice League, him moving down from the majors would feel awkward. Beast Boy responds by turning into a donkey and farting in his general direction. Cy does share pizza with them later on, though it's never said that he's rejoined the Titans.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Raven originally sealed Trigon in a crystal, but without her influence he was able to break free eventually. She reseals him in a shard of the crystal, then sticks it in her forehead to make sure he's always kept in check.
  • Sequel Hook: Terra surfing her way to Titans Tower.
  • Ship Tease: Not only with Superman and Wonder Woman, but also with Raven and Damian.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Sociopathic Hero: Damian, as usual. His idea of crowd control is to throw explosives to get their attention and point in the direction he wants them to run, calling them "sheep" and referring to his role as a "human cattle prod". Batman has a look of Flat "What" on hearing Damian describing people like this. His time with the Titans helps soften him somewhat.
  • Spanner in the Works: A very accidental one and one that's easily missed. Had Damian not gotten blasted in the face by Jaime, Damian most likely would have taken up Ra's al Ghul's offer of immortality instead of realizing he was a little shit, becoming the older Damian Raven saw while healing him.
  • Stealth Pun: Combined with Visual Pun. When Cyborg declines an offer to join the Titans, Beast Boy turns into a donkey. He's literally calling Cyborg an ass.
  • Stepping Stones in the Sky: Flash uses baseball-sized hail as steps to reach Weather Wizard, who is riding a tornado.
  • The Stinger: Terra is coming.
  • Summoning Ritual: Both shown in flashback were used to summon Trigon, first one was performed by the cult which Raven’s mother belonged to and then later by Raven herself.
  • Team Mom: Unlike the usual ditzy and flighty incarnations of her, this Starfire is more worldly and motherly, acting as the leader and the Voice of Reason. This likely has something to do with her portrayal as the oldest of the Titans, being a young adult (and implicitly Dick Grayson's lover) as opposed to one of the teens like Raven, Blue Beetle or Beast Boy.
  • Transformation Sequence: Starfire, Blue Beetle, and Beast Boy get one at the fairgrounds, with Raven doing the same on its outskirts. (Arguably New Powers as the Plot Demands for Raven to transform her clothes (unless she teleported her costume in?) and for Starfire to conjure hers in Magical Girl style, but a Justified Trope extension of Beast Boy’s and Blue Beetle’s powers.) Averted for Badass Normal Robin, who’s late to the fight because the team made him leave his gear back at the car.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: The fairgoers don't particularly seem to notice that Raven and Beast Boy have clearly abnormal skin colors (although BB does wear a hood). Starfire's glowing eyes don't draw any attention either.
  • Victory by Endurance: When the Titans battle Trigon's sons the first time, they can't defeat them because their physical forms regenerate from any damage. Instead, they just have to keep causing damage so their forms run out of energy, causing them to fade from the world.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Trigon is more powerful than anything including Darkseid and swats the likes of Superman aside without spending even any attention on it. What can defeat him? His own daughter who's half human and therefore weaker than him in every way possible, but somehow has a magical spell that can seal him in a crystal that he can't even fight against.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Since the majority of the antagonists in the film are demonic in origin, the cast has no problem killing them. Damian even lampshades this the first time when he lethally attacks Trigon's sons — stabbing one through the head — and then says he hopes that he didn't just kill a living being.
  • Wolverine Publicity: The roster of Titans chosen heavily favors the team seen in the TV show, with Blue Beetle (who has also appeared in several DC cartoons) and Damian being the two exceptions, and even Damian has the benefit of having the same codename and costume as Dick Grayson (who was in the show). The box art takes this a step further by outright omitting Blue Beetle and having Cyborg rushing into battle with the team, meaning that we get a variation of the line-up from the TV show.
  • Worf Had the Flu: Batman takes himself out of the picture by injecting himself with a concoction designed to drop Bane to prevent a corrupter from taking hold.
  • You Do Not Want To Know: This is Cyborg's response when Batman questions where all the food he eats goes if he has no stomach.