“Fuck Batman!”

When Robin uttered that line in the first trailer for Titans it set off a social media firestorm about DC’s new live action show.  Many fans thought it was bold they would try so hard to separate this show from being a Batman vehicle.

And it’s not.  At all.

Titans is the first offering of original programming on DC’s new paid DC Universe streaming service, based on the Teen Titans comic book.   The DC “Dream Team” of Greg Berlanti, Akiva Goldsman, and Geoff Johns are the creators and showrunners of this much more mature version of the story.  This show is very similar in tone to Marvel’s Netflix shows like Daredevil, The Punisher, and Jessica Jones.

Nothing shows that more than this version of Dick Grayson/Robin.  No longer in Batman’s shadow, Robin is a crime fighter who doesn’t care about maiming some criminals if he has to and will not hesitate to do so in brutal fashion.

While the show has light moments it is indeed a serious look at this super team.  We have the aforementioned Dick Grayson/Robin and the underlying issues that he has dealing with the death of his parents and his break from Bruce Wayne/Batman.  Although we do not see Bruce Wayne, there is a reference to him in a telepathic flashback for Raven when she first meets Dick.   Raven is the central figure of the first two episodes and the show’s center.  She’s the daughter of a demon with abilities that are driven by her emotions.   She feels an immediate connection to Dick due to their shared feeling of abandonment.   We only get a small glimpse at the other two members who make up the Titans, Beast Boy and Starfire, but their scenes do a great job in setting up their storyline for the series.

The cast is very good.   Brenton Thwaites (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales) was an excellent choice as Robin.  He has the look of a choir boy which is the perfect misdirection for when he gets into the Robin costume.  Anna Diop (The Messengers) is a CW alum who steals every scene she’s in as Koriand’r/Starfire.  I can already sense she is going to be a fan favorite.   Ryan Potter’s Garfield Logan/Beast Boy isn’t on the screen much, but he brings a little comic relief when he does appear.   Last but not least, we have 14-year-old Australian actress Teagan Croft who plays Rachel Roth/Raven.  This is a layered character and Croft does an excellent job exploring that depth.   It will be interesting to see her develop as the show goes on.

In episode 2 we get two other characters.  TV veteran Minka Kelly plays Dawn Granger/Dove and CW fans will remember Smallville’s Aquaman, Alan Ritchson, who plays Hank Hall/Hawk.  Both are older crime fighters with a connection to Dick which is touched on and will obviously be further explored.  It’s clear the show is going to get more and more interesting as the team comes together and we see how all their abilities and personalities mesh.

I was not all that excited about this show when the original trailer was released, but after seeing the first two episodes I have changed my mind.  Titans is the type of programming adult superhero fans seem to be gravitating towards.

I have a feeling when audiences watch the first episode they’re not going to remember “Fuck Batman” as anything more than one line in an excellent show. – Eric Holzmann