I have mentioned in the past and I will gladly state again that I absolutely adore DC animated films. They are always extremely well done, which is more than can be said for the live action counter parts (although I am still holding out hope that the best is yet to come). So while perusing Hulu while laying sick in bed I was excited to see that they have a plethora of animated films that I had yet to watch. I decided to start with Teen Titans mostly due to the hype surrounding the live action tv show, titled Titans, coming out this year and I was not disappointed.
The Judas Contract opens to a flashback of the original Robin (Dick Grayson) and his team of titans stumbling upon an alien battle where they inadvertently meet Koriand’r, aka Starfire. In the present, Starfire is leading the new team of titans while Dick Grayson, now Nightwing was away. Upon his return to the team, there is a bit of tension as the team naturally gravitates towards the leadership of Nightwing instead of Starfire.
Among the new members of the titans is Terra. She is incredibly powerful with the ability to control the ground beneath our feet but she is also guarded. She refuses to get close to any of the team members despite their efforts to make her feel as though she is a part of the family.
In the midst of settling into a new group dynamic, Brother Blood – a nefarious cult leader – is plotting a way to become the most powerful being on the planet, but he requires the powers of the titans to achieve it.
I loved that this film showed the evolution of the team through the years. It is important to realize that these young heroes grow and mature just like regular teenagers and would want to grow into a more mature group such as the Justice League once they reach a certain age/point in life. I also enjoyed the evolution of the Robins in particular. In one film to see a Dick Grayson Robin as well as a Damien Wayne Robin was spectacular. Especially adding Slade Wilson, aka Deathstroke into the mix made it all the more exciting to me especially considering Damian replaced Slade as Ra’s al Ghul’s heir to the League of Assasins. A slight that Slade has been craving revenge for ever since.
Another aspect of the film that I enjoyed thoroughly was the development of the familial bonds of the team. They weren’t just a group of kids forced together through circumstance. They genuinely love and try to uplift each other despite the difficulties they all face in life. Many of the members do not have families of their own and have therefore developed these bonds with each other which made Terra’s betrayal all the more heartbreaking to the team.
I do have to admit to being worried throughout the film that Terra would follow the stereotypical ‘brainwashed but still redeemable’ trope. Terra was very obviously damaged from the start. She would have horrible nightmares detailing the abuse she suffered from her childhood that would shake the entire tower and with the level of power she possessed that very easily could have been the death of the titans. Terra didn’t want help and she didn’t want to be saved. I believe that she knew from the beginning that Slade was capable of betraying her but he was the safer bet than trying to open herself up to the titans. To say it plainly, Terra was beyond saving and that is the case sometimes. Not everyone can recover and live normally after experiencing trauma and betrayal. This storyline is exactly the reason why I have always gravitated more towards DC storylines. You can’t always save everyone and that’s just reality. It’s dark and it sometimes can hurt, but that’s life.
The Judas Contract just reinforced my love and appreciation of the DC animated universe and I am looking forward to check out some of the other offerings currently available on Hulu.