VOD: Teen Titans: The Judas Contract - Reviewed

In Miguel Ferrer's final role, he makes the best of one of the most clunky, elementary scripts I've ever seen come out of DC's animated line up. As Deathstroke, Ferrer's admittedly better than average performance is the only reason to check-in to the Teen Titan's latest, The Judas Contract.

Not only does the script shuffle about for days, but awkwardly composed frames and animation make this a chore to sit through. The entire first half is nearly unmemorable, building no momentum, and leans on action that isn't exciting to watch. The dialog is less compelling than overheard conversation on a bus, with flat, corny attempts at humor. I involuntarily face palmed once and rolled my eyes at several other zingers.

The only saving grace of this incessantly dull, humorless film, was Miguel Ferrer's translation of Deathstroke. I don't want to unfairly inflate the quality of his performance due to it being his last, however, the rest of the film surrounding him is so bad, it elevates his performance to something unique. He is the literal seasoned old veteran in a room full of children and often stands out like a sore thumb among the silly CW-style relationship threads.

By the way, have I told you how boring the dialog is? I haven't? Well, let me tell you how mind numbingly boring the dialog is. It's very. And where is the story at? The writing meanders everywhere and nowhere, touching ever-so-gently on unrelated character arcs and plot points for well over 30 minutes before anything interesting begins to happen and even so it only comes and goes from there.

The needless attempts at teenage romance and budding sexuality are intensely cringey while rarely going anywhere relevant. And, come on, with this pop song photo montage!? Really? Who is your demographic here, DC? Is this supposed to be for teenage girls? Boys? Comic fans? Oh, it's supposed to be for everybody. Ah, so that it appeals to everyone? I gotcha, mister demographic guy.

Miguel Ferrer, rest in peace, had to say this line while his animated counterpart casually browses the phone of his captor:

"Beast Boy is sending you pictures of Tara's party. It's a shame you're missing it."

I mean, I would get it–I would totally get it–if this was like a chibi Teen Titans and it was supposed to be cutesy and fun, but it most assuredly isn't that.
I wish it was at least enjoyable to look at. There were more times than I'm comfortable with where there were what looks like glaring mistakes in the animation or signs of  a rushed and irresponsible production. Really funky walking animations, weird edits, and other amateur mistakes are curious. I can't help but put on my tinfoil hat and think that Warner Bros. might be trying to push these films out way too fast.

Take one example where Deathstroke is shaking someone's hand and his thumb goes over the other's hand, but nearly to the wrist, almost as if they're shaking each other's wrists. It's clear this is an animation error, unless there is some secret Deathstroke handshake I am unaware of. I mean, it's possible. I'm not necessarily up to date on Deathstroke comics or anything. I'd like to provide an image, but it's kind of a spoiler.

I would like to say that children might enjoy this, but even they might fall asleep, and that's if you're OK with your kids seeing the heavily sexualized nature of some of the relationships. I don't really get who this is aimed at? For those of you looking forward to a certain cameo, it feels shoehorned and useless. It doesn't belong in almost any way. It's irrelevant. Cool, but useless. To be honest, it's one of the few debatably cool moments in a film that tries so hard to make you care in the last 10 minutes. The overly dramatic ending couldn't have felt more unearned. They did nothing but putter on with one irrelevant plot point after another, and try to drag me along with a cameo, only to attempt to tear at my heartstrings in the climax of the final act? No thanks. Not this time, Warner Bros.

- review by J.G. Barnes