Teen Titans Go To Cloak & Dagger!

This week you’re getting a two-for-one review of Teen Titans Go! To The Movies (that exclamation mark in mid-title vexes me) & the first season of Cloak & Dagger! The former has fewer spoilers than the latter.

I remember when there was backlash against the Teen Titans cartoon for deviating from both the comics & the DCAU. After that wormed its way into audience’s hearts, there was backlash against Teen Titans Go! for seemingly disrespecting its predecessor. (I find it to be a better show than it gets credit for, though I only watch it infrequently.) Now we’re all united in hating the Titans trailer because it’s awful. (Does this mean we’ll have fond memories of Titans by the time the next reboot is teased?) Teen Titans Go! To The Movies makes DC Universe’s flagship series look even more embarrassing because it’s legitimutantly fun!

The core voice actors from both versions return aside from Ron Perlman. Here Deathstroke Slade is voiced by Will Arnett, which is initially jarring since he’s LEGO Batman. (Too bad there was never a crossover with JLU where the teams deduce Slade’s secret identity is Deathstroke.) This version of Deadpool’s inspiration is kind of like Mysterio.

As the protagonist (the rest of the team has personality but but no arcs), Robin becomes obsessed with having his own movie. (The last time he co-headlined one, it capsized the franchise until it was rebooted with utmost pretension.) Maybe movies were the real supervillains all along? What nourishes DC characters also destroys them!

2018 has been such a fantastic year for superhero comedies.  The upside to WB struggling with its live action DC movies is that its animated films can satirize them so well! Michael Jelenic & Aaron Horvath make delicious lemonade out of those lemons! The most raucous bit involves Gotham City’s #1 tourist destination, Crime Alley! Cyborg’s disembodied head attacking with wires for tiny limbs is more exciting than anything he did in Justice League.

This isn’t merely an episode of the series stretched out to fit a film runtime. It features songs, background Easter eggs, & a mix of animation styles to keep things interesting. There’s a reference to almost every DC movie, although I’m not sure if I saw anything for Constantine. It also contains a Super Best Friends Forever-ish short, “The Late Batsby,” that’s too short & leads into the revamped DC Super Hero Girls series. (They should’ve retooled the title too.)

Hearing Nic Cage as Superman is delayed gratification for anyone lamenting the demise of Superman Lives, much like Billy Dee Williams voicing LEGO Two-Face. (Speaking of, a debunked rumor said The Batman movie will feature young Harvey Dent. Donald Glover should get the role, however, it’s a travesty he’ll be recast with Josh Brolin in The Batman Forever. Anyway, Matt Reeves should adapt JLApe!) He’s better than I expected & got his son Kal-El Cage a gig as Bruce Wayne. Strangely Halsey as Wonder Woman doesn’t contribute any music, unlike Lil Yachty as Green Lantern.

This is the best advertisement for The Fantastic Four But Worse The Challengers of the Unknown! It reinforces that The Flash needs to bring back the Rainbow Raider & have him actually ride rainbows! Martian Manhunter is there to spite David Goyer. There’s even cameos from a fab foursome & a gratuitous Marvel character! This is the ideal flick for kids whom are also nerds.

It’s my fault this fantabulous movie is bombing since I didn’t see it immediately, although it at least earned back its production costs opening weekend. Then again The Incredibles 2 made a mint despite me not getting around to it yet, so maybe the problem with its box office is YOU. Everyone ought to go to the movies to see Teen Titans Go! To The Movies!

 With trepidation, I opted to watch Clock & Dazzler Cloak & Dagger since ABC Family Freeform is included in my cable package. It’s actually good?

Dagger4.png

Stabby Tandy just doesn’t have the same ring as Stabby Babs.

Aubrey Joseph & Olivia Holt are a compelling pair. I thought Tyrone Johnson & Tandy Bowen being empowerd by Roxxon instead of synthetic heroin was going to be generic, but they make it work. Roxxon was responsible in the Ultimate Universe anyway. (Sometimes they’re retconned into being mutants too! They even fought the original X-Force!) As it turns out they became empowered when the corporation attempted to frack subterranean magic.

Their powers are more visually & conceptually creative than the The Defenders‘  superstrength & questionable karate. (The change of scenery is nice too.) Tandy wants to flee & Tyrone wants to kill, but they wind up with ironically inverse powers. Cloak & Dagger have a symbiotic relationship in the comics, but here their powers repel each other like reverse-Struckers. They do more with Tyrone & Tandy seeing people’s fears & hopes though. Although these visions typically happen in the same handful of sets, they’re still ethereally intriguing. When they touch a person at the same same time, they can unite their powers to navigate psyches. Tandy’s light knives & Tyrone’s darkness teleportation look nifty too.

The TV series updates the core relationships fascinatingly. After the Roxxon rig explosion, the Johnsons & Bowens undergo a reversal of economic fortunes from their comic book origins Tyrone & his family dread he’ll be shot by cops like his brother even if he behaves perfectly. People don’t suspect Tandy is a destitute con artist because she’s a pretty blonde. Both have their own sets of hardships. This is a direct yet clever way of demonstrating how racism, classism, & sexism intersect.

Scientists Mina & Ivan Hess are charmingly quirky, so that gives nuance to the Roxxon Corporation that could otherwise be faceless evil. It’s a pity Ray Wise was squandered as its head during an Agent Carter cameo instead of here. Maybe they can get Dario Agger, the CEO that transforms into a Minotaur & whose name can be confusingly shortened to D. Agger, next season? (He slew comics creator Jason Latour!)

Everyone has the most supportive love interests! They’re somehow ride or die yet chill. I’m not used to genre shows with so many good people like Evita in them. Refrigerators aren’t just for women anymore!

Voodoo refreshingly isn’t portrayed as too exotic or terrifying. The Divine Pairing framing sequence in the finale, however, would’ve worked better if it had anything to do with the Battle of New Orleans. (No Prize: The War of 1812 ended completely differently in the MCU altverse.)

Unlike the Netflix shows, each episode ends at a respectable & consistent time. The season is also three episodes shorter so any filler is more forgivable. I came late to the show, but the pacing encouraged me to catch up instead of being a chore. It’s not as thrilling as Agents of SHIELD, but I cut origin seasons extra slack.

The duo’s initial assault against police & corporate corruption are realistically less than successful. The amgydala-trigged zombies created by magic fracking nicknamed Terrors are pretty generic but they at least provide an enemy for our heroes to fight directly. (Have I mentioned that The Terror, with its atmosphere of dread permeating the historical fiction & supernatural polar bear eating British character actors, may be the best new show of the year? Now I need to read the Dan Simons book. Also the Alpha Flight villain Pestilence is supposed to be the expedition’s Captain Crozier.) “Lotus Eaters” was a fantastic bottle episode! Not only does it have shades of Groundhog Day, but it emphasizes teamwork & action from the titular duo!

Although not created by drugs, Tandy is a junkie. It’s horrifying when she realizes she can get high by stealing people’s hopes for herself. It backfires when she make her supportive grifter boyfriend so despondent he trashes her stuff & steals her Roxxon blood money. She also figures out how to put her corporate nemesis into a coma with them.

It was keen that they tied Cloak’s cloak into his late brother. I was sad to see it get shredded since it had the best blue stripes since Sarah Manning’s casual Cloak cosplay. So both of them need new gear. If Dagger’s decolletage logo isn’t a cutout, she looks much like Silver Sable (who may eventually co-star in a movie with Black Cat directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood, who also did this series’ pilot).

The dirty cop who shot Tyrone’s brother is a ginger with a GI Joe scar so he’s as recognizable as possible. Once I’d accepted that Cloak’s powers had been toned down, he sucks bad cop into the Dark Dimension! Does Detective Brigid O’Reily know Misty Knight from her high school basketball team? The stinger & penultimate narration imply she’s going to return as an adversary, Mayhem. The cloaked figure in the drug runner’s fear vision is Mr. Jip? Hopefully they’ve budgeted for a more grotesque appearance when he officially debuts.

Tyrone & Tandy complete their superhero origin by thwarting a worse Roxxon catastrophe. This time they manage to hold hands long enough to vent the magic meltdown into space. You never notice how much you miss sky beams until watch all The Defenders series fail to serve up satisfying spectacle. (Luke Cage & Jessica Jones compare second seasons.) Olivia Holt (who may literally be one of Dove Cameron’s clones) sings the cover of “Come Sail Away” in during the climax. The finale ends with another reversal: Tandy moves back in with her mom while Tyrone moves into her church while he’s a fugitive. They better exonerate him next season!

It seems like showrunner Joe Pokaski is setting things up to get comic bookier next year! I hope their powers eventually harmonize so we can see Dagger jumping through Cloak as one of their trademark attacks. They didn’t even make us sit through two separate series before we got to the big team-up!

Disney buying Fox officially went through after spending even more billions to spite rival Comcast? I don’t feel like writing another article about that right now. Maybe I’ll have something new to say if it buys DC Comics too. Now that it owns even more networks, Disney can air New Warriors on one. It’s a pity Marvel Studios wasted Mads Mikkelsen on a nobody, however, instead of saving him for Dr. Doom. Congratulations to any Marvel Zombie that really wanted a Netflix Silver Surfer series staring a guy in silver spray paint. Silver Surfer getting banished to Earth for defiance by Galactus (who’s not a cloud this time , but we still don’t see him) happens before the show starts so it can focus on him walking around NYC & punching nondescript hoodlums in a hallway.

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5 thoughts on “Teen Titans Go To Cloak & Dagger!

  1. Slicey says:

    I’m one of those rare MCU superfans who has never read a comic in her life. I watch all the series and the films, but I feel like this series is perhaps experienced completely differently if you don’t have the benefit of having read the comics. Not knowing where the story is going (or where it could or should go) leaves one at the disadvantage of experiencing each episode with new eyes, which is usually a good thing. But not this time. Because let me tell you, Cloak and Dagger is SUPER BORING. The final episode was good – there was finally some action, but otherwise it was about as entertaining as Defenders. I felt like it took them 8 episodes to tell what any other show does in the first two episodes. It was really tough to stick with this one until the end. I feel like I sort of got some payoff in the final episode, but I also feel like I honestly could have skipped the whole first season, picked up with season 2 as a first viewing and not missed a beat. I mean, this series definitely looks good, but man, the pacing is glacial.

    Liked by 1 person

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