REVIEW: Titans Season 2 Finale!

Hey Everyone,

Paul here…

Titans is a weird show. In a television landscape filled with superhero shows, Titans doesn’t quite feel like anything else on TV or streaming at the moment. It may share some superficial similarities to other comic book shows, but the series has an “X factor” that’s hard to define. Titans is about a group of young heroes (some only in their mid-teens) trying to find their place in the world. Though it isn’t made explicitly clear how old the most senior members of the Titans are, they seem to be in their 20s at the oldest. The series is also extremely dark, violent, and graphic. I have no doubt that the violence and language on this show would earn Titans a hard R-rating if it were a film instead of a streaming series. The combination of a young generation of heroes, the ultraviolent nature of the series, along with it’s willingness to dive headfirst into the rich character and story history of DC Comics, makes for a very unique tone.

The series borrows from some fantastic DC Comics stories and characters, both big and small. Some of which like Bruce Wayne (Iain Glen from Game of Thrones) who is recurring character throughout Season 2, were off-limits to television until just a few years ago. Warner Bros. used to have this pretty stupid rule where they did not want their A-list characters like Batman or Superman to ever appear on any of their live action TV shows when a big screen counterpart was currently being depicted in a movie series with a different actor in the same role. For example, while Christian Bale was still officially Batman, a show like Arrow could never introduce their own version of Bruce Wayne. I think people can tell the difference, it’s almost like they think the audience will be too confused by 2 versions of the same character in completely different mediums. Fortunately, this policy seems to slowly be going away bit by bit.

Iain Glen looking cool as fuck as Bruce Wayne

Titans always has a lot of balls in the air. I’m always surprised at the sheer amount of story and concepts that they introduce in any given season. I’d find myself thinking, how are they going to tell a cohesive, season long story with all of these disparate elements at play? For me at least, it works (in it’s own unconventional way). The strength of this series lies with it’s characters. The Titans themselves are the beating heart of the show. This might seem obvious or a necessity for any successful TV series (or streaming series, in this case), but some shows rely on the intricacies of a complex plot more than others. Shows like Lost, Battlestar Galactica, The Wire, and HBO’s recent Watchmen are all great examples of shows that work like a finely tuned watch (not to say that these shows don’t have fantastic characters, it’s just that these examples are much more dependent on plot driven storylines). All the pieces of the story come together to form something extraordinary. For Titans, the magic happens when the show is at it’s most character driven.  DC hasn’t been quite as successful as Marvel at bringing some of it’s less well known characters to life, but when it comes to Titans, they have some deep enough cuts that there’s excitement in just seeing these characters brought to life and brought to life well. Whether it’s Dick Grayson violently confronting the man who murdered his parents, or Raven banishing her demonic father, Trigon, back to Hell to save the world and her newfound Titans family. Truly great shows can have their cake and eat it too: a thrilling, well plotted story and rich, fascinating characters. I enjoy the hell out of Titans, but keep your expectations in check if you decide to give it a watch. So for this review of the Season 2 finale of Titans, I’m going to be focusing on the characters first and foremost.

Season 1 was very much Rachel and Dick‘s season. Things are spread out much more evenly through Season 2, I think to the shows benefit. With new characters being introduced and some side characters from season one now having larger rules, the show has become more of an ensemble. Which is exactly what it should be because Titans is team show. Characters like Donna Troy, Connor Kent, and even Hawk and Dove had some great material this season. Gar felt like the odd man out. Very interesting character and I wish they gave him more to do. The same goes for Jason Todd, while he did have a good amount of screen time, he took a backseat in the latter half of the season and we didn’t get much closure regarding where he’s heading going into Season 3.

Jason Todd – The 2nd Robin after Dick. He’s the kind of guy who for example.,

If I had to say there was a central character this season, I’d probably have to go with Dick. The last two years of the show have been about his emotional journey, culminating in his transformation into Nightwing. Season 1 was all about Dick’s search for identity. So much of who he is was defined by his relationship with Bruce Wayne, a man that he has a great deal of anger and resentment towards. A really nice recurring aspect to this season was that we slowly got to see Dick and Bruce rebuilding their relationship with one another. 

      Unfortunately, when you’re a superhero there’s always more torment and angst right around the corner. Dick may have worked through his issues with Bruce in Season 1, but Season 2 is all about him dealing with the guilt he for his role in how the Titans originally broke up and the lives that were destroyed during that time. 

The original Titans team: Donna Troy, Aqualad, Dick Grayson as Robin, Hawk, and Dove.

    In case it’s not clear, years before Dick met Rachel and began this new version of The Titans or Titans 2.0, there was an original teen that formed years before the group we meet in Season 1. The original Titans included Dick as Robin, Donna Troy, Hawk and Dove, and the tragically fated Aqualad. Garth AKA Aqualad was in love with Donna Troy and had been for years. She loved him too, but her sense of duty clouded her judgement and she repressed her feelings for Garth. I think a lot of us can relate to that situation, especially when you’re young pining after someone for years. You want to be with them so bought bad your chest aches.

Garth AKA Aqualad not only had sick water-kinesis powers, but he was also in love with Donna Troy. Very shortly after they finally got together, Garth is killed by Deathstroke

Speaking of Season 3, like the Superboy and Krypto teaser at the end of Season 1, we get a brief teaser at the end of the episode showing Kory’s sister Blackfire arriving on Earth, presumably to wreak havoc on her sisters life. Lex Luthor is also directly referenced at one point in the episode. When the shit hits the fan with Cadmus as the Titans fuck up that whole operation, Lex puts in an angry call to Mercy Graves. Mercy is Lex’s right hand woman and the person responsible for brainwashing and weaponizing Connor and Gar. With Superboy now a big part of the team and such a public disaster for Cadmus in the season finale, I wonder if we will get to see this show’s version of Lex Luthor, much in the same way we got to see the show’s version of Bruce Wayne this year? At the very least it seems like Blackfire (Kory’s evil sister) will be a major villain in Season 3 since it was just announced that she would be joining the show as a series regular in the next season.

Connor Kent AKA Superboy and his superpowered dog, Krypto

 By the end of the Season 2 Finale, the team finally looks and functions like a classic version of the Teen Titans from the comics. A big part of this is the fact that finally, at long last, Dick Grayson has become Nightwing. A debut that fans have been waiting for since pretty much the first episode of the series. This a good example of how the series can struggle with pacing and the problems with how they choose to unfold their stories. Most fans of the show would probably say Dick finally becoming Nightwing is about a season and a half overdue. However, despite the wait, the long overdue debut of Nightwing was pretty fucking awesome. The costume look great and seeing Nightwing swoop in to save his friends from Deathstroke was sick. Dick’s final face off with Slade, swords clashing against Nightwing’s classic electrified batons and all, was very fun and satisfying. 

This Nightwing uniform is pretty damn perfect.
Slade’s estranged daughter jumps into the fray to help Dick, now Nightwing, take her father down.

    As much fun as the fight was, it was another example of how the series struggles to handle plot and pacing. Deathstroke has been the main Season 2 antagonist, but about half way through the season, a subplot was introduced involving Superboy (Connor Kent), Beast Boy (Gar Logan), and the sinister Cadmus Labs. Cadmus is a front for Lex Luthor, run by his right hand woman Mercy Graves, to sell meta-human weapons on the black market, with the captured Conner and Gar as the star products. Cadmus was certainly a cool and interesting element throughout the season, but it was a little jarring to see Deathstroke finished off so early in the episode with the focus of the finale entirely shifting to rescuing Connor and Gar and taking down Cadmus. 

Gar and Connor shortly before they’re captured by Cadmus.
Gar AKA Beast Boy in his Tiger form

  The sequence itself was a lot of fun and had some great moments, but then a major character is killed off almost out of nowhere with relatively little fanfare. Again, while it didn’t kill the episode, it was certainly an odd choice. This episode is a great showcase of what’s great and what doesn’t work with Titans. 

This man has Batarangs and he knows how to fucking use them.

     I’d also be remiss if I didn’t comment on Iain Glen‘s great performance as Bruce Wayne throughout Season 2. I didn’t think he would be as much of a presence on the show as he was. I thought he would maybe have one or two cameos in a few episodes, but he ended up being in quite a few. I really liked his take on Bruce Wayne, it’s definitely not a side of the character we’ve seen much of and certainly not at all in live-action. He’s an older, more paternal version of the character and despite his darkness and cynicism, you can see the genuine happiness it brings him to reconcile with Dick. There are a few scenes where you see that Bruce is just as emotionally vulnerable about their relationship as Dick is. It’s in moments like those that show us glimpses of the man whose trauma stunted him somewhat developmentally. He never quite grew up completely. It’s a really insightful take on Bruce Wayne and I applaud the writers and Iain Glen for going there. My only complaint would be that a significant portion of Bruce Wayne‘s presence in the season was a hallucination in Dick’s mind. Since this wasn’t really Bruce, just Dick’s perception of Bruce within his subconscious, Glen is basically playing another character.  There’s hallucination Bruce and there is real Bruce. Even though we got quite a bit of the real Bruce present throughout the season, the hallucination Bruce probably represented a third of his appearances throughout. I wanted to see much more of the real Bruce. I really like the actor and his take on one of the most complex and multifaceted individuals in all of fiction, was always fun to watch.  

To wrap things up, Titans is by no means a perfect show but it is a lot of fun. Season 2 was a large improvement over Season 1, but they still have some work to be done when it comes to plotting and execution of their storylines. If you’re a DC fan in particular, there’s a lot to love here. The characters are great and by the end of the season the show is starting to look a lot like the Teen Titans we’ve read in the comic books for years. If you don’t have DC Universe, Titans Season 2 will probably be available on iTunes and Blu-ray soon. This show gets my recommendation as long as you go into it keeping your expectations in check.

TITANS Season 2 Finale = 8/10

Thanks for reading! Follow me on Twitter @PJWrightWBM or type Worlds Best Media into the search bar, you can also like and follow us on our Facebook page; World’s Best Media. Those likes and follows, as well as iTunes reviews, go a long way to supporting World’s Best Media. We really appreciate the loyalty and support shown to us by our fans, so thanks again!

-Paul

PODCAST: July Movie & TV Preview! Stranger Things 3! Spider-Man: Far From Home! & More!


Hey Everyone,

Paul here…

   LIVE FROM RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL! …Well… No, not really… But it’s a good show anyway! On this week’s episode of The World’s Best Podcast, guest co-host Paul Sr. and I discuss the must see movies and TV series coming up next month, in our July Movie & TV Preview! We give you the scoop on Spider-Man: Far From Home, Stranger Things 3, Young Justice: Outsiders & more! Of course, along the way we take some of our usual nonsensical detours, but that’s part of the fun! 

  I also wanted to mention, as a public service announcement, that the word around the campfire is that Spider-Man: Far From Home is not only spectacular, but it also has a lot of cool surprises and twists and turns. Besides the trailer I have posted below, I’d recommend avoiding anymore trailers or clips from Spider-Man: Far From Home. From what I’ve heard, this is a movie you want to go into knowing as little as possible. Speaking of trailers, you can also check out the latest trailer for Spider-Man: Far From Home, as well as Stranger Things 3 and Young Justice: Outsiders at the end of this article.

   As a little bonus for our World’s Best Media readers and subscribers, I wanted to bring your attention to a few other movies and TV shows premiering in July that we didn’t have time to go over on the podcast. First up, we have Amazon Prime’s new series The Boys. Based on the incredible comic book series created by writer Garth Ennis and artist Darick Robertson, The Boy’s takes place in a world where superheroes exist, but they’re reckless, entitled assholes who are way more likely to kill a bunch of innocent people as collateral damage than they are to save the day. When these pricks get really out of hand, The Boys step in. The Boy’s are a covert government team of violent lunatics who fuck up and/or kill superheroes who get out of line. Garth Ennis is the amazing writer behind the comic book classic Preacher as well as writing the most iconic run on The Punisher of all time. If you’re at all familiar with Ennis’ writing you won’t be surprised that The Boys is batshit insane in the best possible way.  Everything I’ve seen so far has indicated that the show is pretty damn faithful to the source material. I’m pretty psyched for this one. Make sure you check out the trailer posted below. The Boys premieres on Amazon Prime on July 26.

   Lastly, we have the new DCAU movie (or DC Animated Universe movie), Batman:Hush. I’m alway excited when one these new animated movies come out. They may not always knock out of the park, but when they do it’s fucking spectacular. Batman: Hush is based on the comic book storyline of the same name, an iconic Batman story written by Jeph Loeb (Batman: The Long Halloween) and legendary artist Jim Lee. The story is a sprawling mystery about a mysterious madman calling himself Hush, who’s hellbent on destroying Batman and everything he loves. The story is a trip through the most iconic parts of Batman’s world, featuring everyone from The Joker and Ras Al Ghul to Superman and Nightwing. This movie has the potential to be great, so I hope DC really nails this story. The trailer is posted below. Batman: Hush hits digitally on July 20th and on Blu-Ray August 6th.

Anyway, listen to this week’s episode of The World’s Best Podcast here or subscribe on Stitcher, Google Podcasts, & iTunes: https://www.spreaker.com/episode/18357511

iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-worlds-best-podcast/id1246038441?i=1000442525170

Stitcher: https://www.stitcher.com/s?eid=62122898&autoplay=1

Trailers:

Thanks for reading and listening! Enjoy!

-Paul

MOVIE REVIEW: Reign of The Supermen

Hey Everyone,

Paul here… 

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  This month DC Animation is releasing the second movie in their two part Death of Superman saga, Reign of The Supermen. Reign of The Supermen begins roughly 6 months after The Death of Superman. The world is still in morning, but none more so than Lois Lane. Shortly before his death, due to his injuries sustained saving the city from Doomsday in the previous film, Clark and Lois’ relationship had reached the point where they were deeply in love with each other. Which makes Clark’s death all the more tragic, but more on that in a moment.

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    Even with the fantastic action sequences we come to expect, I’ve really enjoyed the small character moments in both of these movies that give the films some heart. For example, the developing friendship between Lois Lane and Wonder Woman added a nice layer to the film. Superhero comics are often so male focused, we don’t get to see enough positive female friendships. Even though it’s Clark’s death that brings them together in this film, it’s great to see their bond develop throughout the film. Even though they are very different people in many ways, it makes a lot of sense that they would like each other, that they’d hit it off. 

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Lois and Diana just chillin’

   A problem DC characters face that most Marvel characters don’t, is the fact that the Justice League are almost a modern day pantheon of gods. Which can make them seem distant, inhuman and unrelatable. Seeing Lois and Diana together in civilian attire bonding at a local pub is a great scene that humanizes these larger than life characters. It’s a small moment, but I hope the writers take the opportunity to grow this relationship. There’s great dramatic and comedic potential in pairing Lois and Diana in this and future films.

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   As, I touched upon earlier, when that film began, Lois and Clark have been dating long enough that they both knew some serious choices needed to be made in their relationship. Was this just a fun office romance? Or is it something real? They love one another, but Clark struggles with how and if he should tell Lois that he is Superman. Their love story is a key story aspect of that film.

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   I think the decision to make this story into two films really works and you see that decision pay off here. Considering the ambition of the story they were telling, this does feel like one film, cut in two, instead of two separate movies. I hope they put out a deluxe edition with both films together like they did with The Dark Knight Returns Part One and Two. There are so many callbacks and little moments connected to the first film, that if you haven’t seen The Death of Superman, you may not understand the emotional impact of certain moments.

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   Following Superman’s death, four new “Superman themed” heroes appear. The question to some is, if somehow one of them could be the real deal. First there’s Steel, a scientist named John Henry Irons we’d met in a few previous DCAU films. Irons has essentially built Superman-themed Iron Man armor. He has a particularly cool mechanized hammer, almost like a high tech version of Thor’s new ax/hammer in Infinity War. With his flowing red cape and the S on his armor, he cant quite reach the power level of the original Man of Steel, but he certainly holds his own.

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  Then there’s the teenage Superboy, a LexCorp sponsored hero reveling in his celebrity and all too eager to prove himself to be the hero that Superman was and so much more. Unfortunately, he finds out the hard way that a cocky attitude and bravado can’t compete with the years of experience the original Superman had under his belt. His origin is pretty dark and I won’t spoil it here, if you don’t know it already. Some may find his character to be a little bit annoying, but I found there to be an underlying tragedy to the character and I thought his relationship with Lex Luthor was particularly interesting.

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Superboy and his complicated relationship with Lex Luthor

  I don’t want to go into full spoilers, but there are 2 other contenders for the title of the new Man of Steel: The dangerous Eradicator and Cyborg-Superman. Both are much darker figures than Steel and Superboy. Strangely, it seems that if any of these new “heroes” are Kal-El of Krypton reborn, Cyborg-Superman seems like the best bet, but like all of the new Superman figures there is more to him than meets the eye.

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The Eradicator

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Cyborg-Superman

  When the shit really starts to hit the fan, the movie finds a particularly clever way to take of the Justice League out of the equation for the big final battle at the end of the film. Had the Justice League been present, it definitely would’ve created major story problems, so it was nice to see that was handled well. The absence of the Justice League forces some unpredictable and surprising figures to step up and act more heroically than you may expect, including Lex Luthor.

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     Rainn Wilson returns to the role of Lex Luthor in this film after first playing him in The Death of Superman. I really like how Lex is portrayed in both of these movies. He is undoubtably self-serving, amoral, and even a flat out piece of shit at times. However, he doesn’t want to see mankind destroyed or brought low. He genuinely wants to help the human race and at times, under the right circumstances, he can even act heroically. The film leaves him in a particularly interesting place in this regard and I‘m very much looking forward to see where they take the character from here.

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Lex Luthor himself

In my review for last year’s The Death of Superman (Read it here:  https://best-media-world.com/2018/07/29/movie-review-the-death-of-superman/   ), I mention how the film feels very much like a story about Clark Kent “the man” first and foremost. Not Superman, just Clark Kent. The Death of Superman is about the young man who grew up on a Kansas farm raised by wonderful parents. 

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If The Death of Superman was about Clark Kent, Reign of The Supermen is all about Lois Lane.  She’s the lead in this film. Sure, we have four new Superman “replacements/Wannabes/psychos” running around that are crucial to the story, But make no mistake this is Lois’s film. We get to see you Lois in action playing the hero on a level I don’t think we’ve ever seen her before outside of the comics. Even without the costume and the powers she almost feels like the superhero of the film. I mentioned before that at some point in the film the Justice League are taken out of the equation and there are people seriously fighting out of their weight class. Lois Lane is of course one of these people. She manages to hold her own in against one of the most dangerous super villains in the DC Universe and the movie makes it work. Almost like Batman, Lois uses her cunning and what weapons she has at her disposal to take on some real heavy hitters. Lois and Lex Luthor, as characters are probably some of the strongest parts of this film

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  I don’t really want to get into the method in which a Superman is resurrected. I mean, c’mon! We all knew he was coming back. No one thought he going to stay dead. But the events surrounding his resurrection, put Superman at a slight disadvantage. Which was another creative way to up the stakes for the characters, especially when Superman is often labeled as being too powerful in his stories.

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He’s got the black suit! And the beard! AND THE MULLET!! FUCK YEAH!!!

  There are some really great action sequences in the climax. Some of the animation in particular is very dynamic, fluid, almost anime  . That turns some people off, but I think it looks really cool and I thought it especially worked for this film. 

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SOME SPOILERS IN THE FOLLOWING PARAGRAPH 

Beware…

 

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     The Death Of Superman strongly hinted at the mastermind behind the events in both of these films. It won’t be too hard to guess the individual’s identity. SLIGHT SPOILERS FOR FUTURE POSSIBLE FILMS: I really like how the story leaves  Superman and the rest of the Justice League contemplating how to deal with the threat of Darkseid. This was his revenge for his failed invasion of Earth in Justice League: War (Though it seems he blames Superman for that defeat more than the other heroes for some reason). The JL knows that Darkseid is going to keep coming and they’re going to have to do something about him. I’m really excited for the story possibilities this set up for future movies. I hope the folks at DC animation take full advantage of the storytelling potential. Oh, and stay for the post-credits scene! Not only is it important to some potential future films but it’s also just really fun and funny. Don’t  miss it

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It looks like we may be getting an adaptation of The Darkseid War

 

 

END SPOILERS 

 All in all, I loved The Death of Superman, I don’t think Reign of The Supermen quite reached the heights of the previous film. However, it still has a lot going for it that makes it absolutely worth a watch. For a fun and exciting superhero movie with some above average character work and thrilling action sequences, you can’t go wrong with Reign of The Supermen. I definitely recommend you check it out.

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Reign of The Supermen: B-

Thanks for reading!

Review by Paul J. Wright

NEW TRAILER: Young Justice: Outsiders!

The long awaited 3rd Season of Young Justice premieres on 1/4/19 on the DC UNIVERSE streaming service. Check out the new trailer for Young Justice: Outsiders right here!