To certain comic book fans, The Judas Contract is one of the most memorable and truly special comic book arcs out there. Now, this epic ‘80s tale is brought to animated life as part of the current incarnation of the DC world that began life back at the end of 2012’s mesmerising Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox.
Plot-wise, Teen Titans: The Judas Contract sees newbie Terra (Christina Ricci) join the Titans ranks alongside Nightwing (Sean Maher), Starfire (Kari Wahlgren), Robin (Stuart Allen), Beast Boy (Brandon Soo Hoo), Raven (Taissa Farmiga), and Blue Beetle (Jake T. Austin). Unfortunately for the Titans and their newest recruit, though, the ominous Brother Blood (Gregg Henry) is intent on capturing the whole team of young heroes in order to steal their powers via a swanky new machine. To assist in bringing the Titans to their knees, Blood has brought in a man more than capable of getting the job done: Deathstroke (Miguel Ferrer).
For those familiar with the comic book Judas Contract, you know full well where things are going to end up, but for those who’ve not read this fan favourite near-2-year story, we’re not going to veer in to spoiler territory here. Safe to say, even with some changes to the original tale, this animated effort still manages to knock it out of the park. In terms of changes, Blood’s presence here is far bigger than in the comic arc, and then there’s the lack of Donna Troy and Cyborg – with that pair replaced by Damian Wayne’s Robin and Blue Beetle. But to the credit of director Sam Liu and writer Ernie Altbacker, the changes made to the original comic arc work fantastically in terms of fitting in with the world that’s been established in the past batch of movies.
One thing that’s clear and present here is that Teen Titans: The Judas Contract has been treated by all involved as a huge deal, and rightly so. And the narrative at play feels the benefit of this, with the whole film feeling like a monumental event and something that makes casual fans appreciate just how important and engaging the Teen Titans team can be. Brimming with continuous character development, overflowing with some truly badass battles (keep your eyes peeled for some edge-of-your-seat action between Nightwing and Deathstroke), engulfed by a pitch-perfect score, and feeling like the proverbial rollercoaster ride, The Judas Contract is a must-see for any and all DC fans.
If there is a slight gripe, it’s that it was maybe a tad ambitious to try and fit such a huge, all-encompassing story in to barely 90 minutes, but Liu and his team most definitely make the best of their runtime, hitting all of the right beats at a pace that feels natural and well-balanced. If you’re one of those who have maybe never really appreciated the Teen Titans over the years, Teen Titans: The Judas Contract (and last year’s Justice League vs. Teen Titans, to be fair) will win you over as to just why this group of youngsters are so special.
Special Features: Two featurettes / Sneak peek at ‘Batman and Harley Quinn’ / Two bonus cartoons / Blue Beetle mini figure
TEEN TITANS: THE JUDAS CONTRACT / CERT: 12 / DIRECTOR: SAM LIU / SCREENPLAY: ERNIE ALTBACKER / STARRING: SEAN MAHER, KARI WAHLGREN, STUART ALLAN, TAISSA FARMIGA, BRANDON SOO HOO, CHRISTINA RICCI, MIGUEL FERRER / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW