An adaptation of DC’s Teen Titans’ popularised by the 2000’s cartoon, Titans is a live action show that takes a far more mature (gritty even?) approach to the source material. Whilst the first trailer suggested it was going to be an ultraviolent grimfest (complete with uncensored swearing and merciless brutality), it’s much more than just a revisionist reboot, boasting a charismatic cast and distinctive tone, unlike any other current superhero show.
The series follows Rachel (Teagan Croft), a teenage girl with occult powers, who is targeted by a shadowy organisation. She seeks the aid of Dick Grayson (Brenton Thwaites), a former “Robin”- turned- cop. Meanwhile, Kory (Anna Diop) wakes up in Europe with no memory of who she is, and completing the group is Gar (Ryan Potter), a boy with the ability to turn into a tiger.
All of the main cast is undoubtedly talented, in particular, Diop and Potter, who manage to bring a much-needed sense of levity to an otherwise very dark show. Robin is probably the least interesting of the characters initially, as he is scarcely given anything to do but brood, but he becomes much more likable when Thwaites presents a warmer side to him.
Whilst the first episodes struggle to set themselves apart from other ‘mature reboots,’ the show soon establishes its own tone. The cinematography is stylish, and the soundtrack is well chosen, featuring everything from Boney M. to Foo Fighters. The series seems particularly interested in exploring the oddball corners of the DC universe, which helps further distinguish Titans from other superhero shows around today.
Unfortunately, Titans seems uninterested in following its own story at times. Entire episodes are spent introducing new characters, seemingly in the hope that some of them will prove worthy of a spin-off. It derails the plot and detracts from the show’s main characters. These episodes are often saved by the outstanding performances they feature. Alan Ritchson is especially impressive as a fellow crimefighter whose brash exterior hides serious trauma, whilst Curran Walters injects a dash of adrenaline as a new “Robin” who is more at home with the violence the role brings.
As a whole, the show doesn’t quite match up to its competitors when it comes to action. Rapid editing, poor lighting and an unnecessary amount of blood make the fight scenes look and feel staged, with none of the impact or technical ambition of similar shows like Daredevil. Its characterization is formidable enough that it doesn’t ruin the show, but it’s certainly an area that could be improved. Titans has serious potential, but needs a little more discipline and focus to be great.
Image: Carloyuen via Pixabay