Titans Non-Spoiler Review: DC And WB Grit Pays Off

From “Holy Barnacles Batman” to “F-Batman,” DC and Warner Bros. are making the leap towards a darker and grittier television version of the iconic comic book series Titans. The shift presents itself as extreme (even clickbaity) when it’s really a step towards the originality which makes DC Comics so enjoyable. Separating themselves from Marvel’s style, WB is launching Titans as the signature series for the new DC streaming app. And the choices they’re making are worth checking out.

Reactions towards this new move have been divisive. And the trailers for Titans didn’t exactly give the show its due justice. Going into the first three episodes, my expectations weren’t high — and yet, after viewing “Episode 1 Titans,” I was hooked and beyond excited to take this dark and gritty ride.

Getting To Know The Cast Of Titans

Dick Grayson fighting street gang in DC Titans
Image via DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Television

The new DC Titans series features a host of talented actors taking on these iconic comic book characters. While sharing similarities to their artistic panel counterparts, the casting is uniquely different from what fans might expect, invoking a positive breath of fresh air in an otherwise overly saturated world.

Brenton Thwaites is Dick Grayson, formerly known as Robin. Grayson is in a difficult headspace in Titans, having recently parted ways with Batman. He’s unsure of himself and where he fits in regarding being a superhero. The series is clearly setting Grayson up to become Nightwing, taking viewers on an emotional and action-packed journey as the former side-kick discovers his own path.

Teagan Croft (Rachel Roth), Raven in DC Titans
Image via DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Television

In addition to the cast is Teagan Croft (Rachel Roth), better known to comic book fans as Raven. Rachel is also in a weird place, unsure of herself and afraid of her abilities. DC doesn’t hold back with Raven’s character, providing suspense and intrigue as each episode continues to unravel the mysteries hidden within her. Grayson and Rachel cross paths as if designed by fate, forming the primary arc of Titans season 1, as they attempt to find their identity and purpose in this cruel and unforgiving world.

Starfire/Kory taking on a villain in DC Titans
Image via DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Television

Other important characters introduced early on in Titans include Starfire/Kory (Anna Diop), Beast Boy/Gar Logan (Ryan Potter), Hawk/Hank Hall (Alan Ritchson), and Dove/Dawn Granger (Minka Kelly).

First Impressions Of Titans Season 1

Dick Grayson in DC Titans
Image via DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Television

After viewing the first three episodes of Titans season 1, we’ve given the series a rating of 4.6 out of 5. While there are some minor issues which need to be addressed, the overall show hits more than it misses.

Titans tone is dark and gritty, but not in an overpowering way. There’s a balance, not seen in other WB shows, in which light and dark are fused together properly like Yin and Yang. This creates a smooth flow to the series, never boring and always visually appealing.

The pacing of Titans is also impressive, providing necessary flashbacks and exposition without beating the viewer into submission. Grayson and Raven are the clearly the focus, fleshing out their pasts through flashbacks while pacing their current story arcs without filler and randomness.

Not every character, however, receives the same treatment. Within the first three episodes, little is revealed regarding Beast Boy and Starfire’s role is mostly driven by plot movement. Instead, the writers chose to include Hawk and Dove into the mix, allowing Grayson’s character to get fleshed out further while moving the plot along.

Hawk and Dove fighting in Episode 2 of DC Titans
Image via DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Television

While the addition of Hawk and Dove is a welcome one, it does sacrifice screen time for the other future members of Titans throughout the first three episodes. And yet, for now, I’m willing to give this a pass. Episode 2 “Hawk and Dove,” is my favorite so far. It not only opens the door into Dick Grayson’s past, but it sets the overall tone for the world in which these superheroes operate within. It’s powerful, humorous, and isn’t lacking in action.

If I have one major complaint about Titans, it’s regarding the villains. Set-up towards the main villain of season 1 is established but in a somewhat generic fashion. Again, the focus within the first three episodes is predominantly on Grayson and Raven. Lesser villains seem to come and go, while the true presence of evil remains a mystery. Eventually, motives are defined, but without a true clarity of fear. Hopefully, the lack of proper villainy changes direction as additional episodes of Titans release, since it’ll likely play a major role in the overall arc of season 1.

First look at villains in DC Titans series
Image via DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Television

Amidst all the new streaming apps, it’s only natural to feel hesitant towards dolling out another monthly fee. Titans, however, is not a series to sleep on. It’s action-packed, visually appealing, paced well, and has the potential to become one of the best DC shows to-date.

Concept art of Beast Boy in DC Titans
Image via DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Television
Raven DC Titans source-TITANSROOMSRavenLAYEREDf
Image via DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Television
Starfire concept art in DC Titans
Image via DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Television
Dick Grayson concept art in DC Titans
Image via DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Television

Titans airs October 12th via the DC streaming app.

Let us know in the comments if Titans have you excited or feeling meh.

 

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