Cast: Brenton Thwaites, Anna Diop, Teagan Croft and Ryan Potter
Developed by: Akiva Goldsman, Greg Berlanti and Geoff Johns
First things first, if you are planning to watch Titans on the basis of its comic-book counterparts or have the imagery of Clark Kent in your mind zooming in colourful Superman costume to save the world in broad daylight, you might be a bit disappointed. But if you plan to watch a new show that brings in some popular characters and has an edgy noir backdrop, DC Universe’s shadowy flagship series on Netflix is your choice.
The characters in Titans have previously shared screentime in the animated series The Teen Titans and a comedy film for kids Teen Titans Go. Conversely, the series has no resemblance with any of these in terms of genre as the show turns out to be an uncanny mix of noir, psychotic horror and rib-cracking action. Add in a tinge of comic book references and easter eggs and you have one of the best superhero origin stories when it comes to the DC universe.
Developed by Akiva Goldsman, Greg Berlanti and Geoff Johns, the story moves around Rachel Roth / Raven (Teagan Croft). The 14-year-old has a demonic lineage which empowers her to tap into others’ emotions. Rachel realises that there is something within her that’s evil and in an urge to figure out/ fight it she meets detective Dick Grayson (Brendan Thwaites) after the woman who claimed to be her mother was shot dead by a mysterious man.
Taking biblical references in many instances, Titans goes on to explore Raven’s origin story which is indeed the most fascinating part of the show.
The biggest factor that makes the show enjoyable and watchable is its cast. None of the characters look forced and they seamlessly fit in their superhero suits. My personal favourite turns out to be, Anna Diop- the Starfire. She’s bold, fearless, unapologetic and has fuchsia pink hair (enough reason to adore her). Essaying the role of Kory Anders, an extraterrestrial powerful woman with no memory of her past, she is on a mission to stop Rachel from causing the destruction of her planet where she eventually learns about her own patronage.
One cannot deny the fact that Brenton Thwaites is an incredible sidekick of Batman, the first Robin. Although we hated him for blurting out ‘F**k Batman’ in the trailer, in the first episode itself we learn it is not as scandalous as it appears to be.
Unlike their other properties, this is the first time that DC has forayed into the concept of internal conflicts through Titans. Grayson shares a mired rapport with his mentor Bruce Wayne and it affects his choices and his plan of action throughout the series for he wants to step out from his mentor’s shadow. There’s a moment when Batman and Grayson come face to face but we don’t get to see Batman’s face. DC perfectly conveys that it is Robin’s show and not Batman’s.
While Teagan has one of the most detailed characters driving most of the plot, the least we know about is Beast Boy played by Ryan Potter, who develops the ability to shapeshift into a tiger as a side effect from a drug that cured him of a lethal disease. Apart from the four Titans, there is Minka Kelly as Dawn Granger / Dove and Alan Ritchson as Hank Hall / Hawk who fight crime.
The superhero genre is incomplete without startling action sequences and Titans takes a leap here. The violent action sequences remind you of Game of Thrones on several occasions. For instance, in one of the earlier episodes when a mysterious man tries to evacuate the demon inside Rachel, the evil sets free, gets inside the man and rips him apart with ounces of blood on the floor. It is gruesome and unlike other comic book shows by DC such as CW’s Arrow and The Flash.
DC has been not successful in the past when it comes to bringing superheroes together, Justice League and Suicide Squad are prime examples of their futile efforts. But it seems like they are all set to turn the table with this new superhero series on Netflix. Part of the reason as to why Titans works for the audience is because of its dissociative-connectivity: it’s part of the larger DC canon but works outside of the DCEU as we know it.
Right from the word go, the series has a number of sequences that will keep you hooked to your screens. There are fair chances that you might finish the show in one go for it’s that engaging and the hook at the end of each episode is something you would like to look forward to.
Not a kids show anymore, this sci-fi adventure drama is definitely worth a watch.
(Image courtesy: DCU Titans Twitter page)
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