‘Titans’ 1×01 Review: ‘Titans’

After years of waiting, fans of this comic book team up finally get to see their favorite superheroes suit up in live action. Titans has been in TV development hell for years. TNT considered the series in 2014, but officially passed on the project in 2016. Now, these heroes have kicked off the first original programming line up for the powerhouse comic book company’s new streaming service, DC Universe. We’ve been waiting for this show four very long years. Was it worth the wait?

Find out below!

These aren’t the animated Teen Titans you’re used to and that’s a very good thing!

Source: http://jamesvalldez.tumblr.com

DC has gotten a lot of flack over the years for a darker tone. I’ve never understood why some people consider that a bad thing. But this new Titans series isn’t trying to be something it’s not. They’ve even leaned into that criticism with some hilarious marketing tools, including calling out Deadpool in a recent promo. Ballsy moves like this one make fans excited.

And a little healthy competition never hurt anyone.

Promos like this also set the tone for what will be a very adult show moving forward. This isn’t the cartoon you grew up with. There’s violence, it’s bloody and people die horribly.

I’m really glad TNT passed on the show. I just don’t think that network could have done it justice. No pun intended.

This kind of show needed to be on its own streaming service, the way Marvel has put some of its more adult programming on Netflix. Marvel has proved there is definitely an audience for this kind of show. There are people who like their superheroes to be dark, and they’ll tune in week after week.

Meet the new DC team that will soon become a family:

http://captainpoe.tumblr.com

The first episode introduces us to the four main members of the team, quickly establishing that there is a link between at least three of them.

We first meet Rachel, a young girl with a dark secret and a literal demon to fight. Her introduction is definitely something out of a horror film: She’s dreaming about The Flying Graysons, and witnesses the tragic deaths of John and Mary Grayson before waking up.

That’s when things go from scary to downright terrifying. Rachel needs to be locked up every night because she’s dangerous. Her home life closely resembles Carrie’s, from the famous Stephen King novel. Though to be fair, I don’t think Rachel’s mom is quite a religious zealot like Carrie’s mom.

I actually don’t know very much about Raven as a character. I do know that this show has made me really invested in her story. That’s already one for their win column.

Next, we’re introduced to team leader, Dick Grayson. As a detective in Detroit, Dick is battling his own figurative demons and is trying to forge a new path for himself.

Dick has always been one of my favorite comic book characters. While everyone was up in arms about Starfire’s casting or her wig, I was nervous about Brenton Thwaites portraying one of my favorite comic book heroes of all time. Luckily, Thwaites navigates all the different sides of Dick Grayson beautifully.

This is a guy that has seen some pretty messed up stuff in his young life. Yes, he can be violent. His mentor is also violent. It’s all he knows. Still, he hasn’t lost that goodness in him. And we mostly see it when he meets Rachel and quickly goes out of his way to help her.

Source: https://wondergrayson.tumblr.com

Kory Anders is still a mystery. We first see her in Austria where she is imbedded within a shady organization trying to find a mystery girl. Kory doesn’t remember much about who she is or what she’s doing but her powers come like second nature.

Going up against Austrian thugs, she easily defeats them. I really shouldn’t sugarcoat it though. She kills them and it’s brutal. This character is extremely powerful and nobody should want to mess with her. Kory finds the photo of Rachel and it is revealed that this is the girl she’s been looking for. Based on this, it’s only a matter of time before Kory crosses paths with Dick and Rachel in the states.

I can’t wait to see more of her, though. I’m excited to see what Anna Diop does with the role after all the nasty comments people have made about her casting. So far, she’s killing it. You go girl!




We meet the last team member in a short cameo in the end credits. That’s okay, because I know we’ll see more of him in the coming weeks, but it’s still an odd choice to make for introducing a fan favorite like Beast Boy. The actor playing him promises there’s more to come for Garfield Logan, and that should get fans excited. Right now, all we know about him is that he can transform into a tiger -and does so to steal video games. Despite the quick introduction, I actually am excited to see more of him and find out what his connection to the rest of them is.

This is an origin story for this team. They’re not the heroes we know and love yet, but the show promises they’ll get there. It just doesn’t promise how long that will take.

Who is the villain of this story?

Source: http://captainpoe.tumblr.com

I’ve always said that your heroes are only as strong as your villains.

Based on this first episode, there doesn’t seem to be a clear enough line drawn between the heroes and who the villain of this story could be. Rachel has killed people. So has Kory. Dick also beat the crap out of child abusers and drug traffickers, leaving them on the brink of death. Right now, the only one who’s completely pure on this future team is Garfield. (We won’t count stealing video games against him here.)

The members of this ragtag group aren’t exactly being traditional heroes at the moment, but we know they’re not the villains of their own story. They can’t be. Unless this is a red herring for what’s to come.

We do see a shady character that murders Rachel’s mom and kidnaps her, but it’s not as cut and dry as you’d assume. We know Rachel has something inside of her that is extremely dangerous, but she’s still just a kid with no real control over whatever it is.

I’m sure fans of the character can school me about this, but it looks like whatever might be inside Rachel is the real bad guy of the season. If that is the case, then the series will probably give us a fantastic first villain in their first season: one of them.

It’ll be interesting to see this play out since Dick doesn’t take betrayal lightly. But can we really call this a potential betrayal? So far, it doesn’t seem like Rachel is in very much control of whatever is inside of her. So he can’t really blame her. Can he?

The show does a good job at setting up these threads and interweaving them in a way that both comic book fans and non-fans can follow with rapt attention. I’m excited to see these people from all walks of life eventually become the superhero team we know and love.

Highlights

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  • Rachel’s dream about The Flying Graysons was really well filmed. It was spooky and tragic. It both made me want to cry and cover my eyes.
  • Her mom’s death is the first moment in this series that I realized this show was different than any of the other DC properties we’ve ever seen. This was already way more adult than any other show they’ve released.
  • Robin’s fight in the alley is probably one of the best fight sequences I’ve ever seen on any comic book show. It reminded me of Daredevil’s iconic hallway fight from Season One. It was brutal.
  • “F*** Batman!” People made fun of that line when the trailer first came out, but within the context of the scene, it was actually one of my favorite lines in the entire pilot.
  • Rachel’s superpowers will definitely come in handy, but they’re a little invasive if her scene in the interrogation room with Dick is anything to go by.
  • Kory Anders is a total badass and I can’t wait for her to meet the rest of the team.
  • I actually like Dick’s new partner, but I don’t know if he should trust her yet. She might die anyway.
  • Dick’s reputation precedes him. He left Gotham because he was already becoming too much like Bruce but he is more like his mentor than he’d like to admit.
  • He practically adopts Rachel after one night of knowing her and finding out that her mom was murdered in front of her.
  • I love that Dick went after that child abuser as Robin but he saved Rachel as Dick. Character development is a beautiful thing.
  • Protect Garfield at all costs. He’s so precious.
  • The cinematography on this show is gorgeous, even if it is kind of dark. That’s the tone they’re going for so I’m going to forgive it.
  • This episode left me wanting more and that’s exactly what a pilot of any series should do.
  • Where was Dick taking Rachel at the end of the episode? I really hope he was going back to Wayne Manor in Gotham.

Titans will be available for streaming on the DC’s newest service, DC Universe. A new episode of the season will be available to stream every Friday. The series has already been renewed for a second season.





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