Julien Neaves, Editor
So our Red Mango Reviews coverage of comic-related content has been only Marvel for awhile. But we love both Marvel and DC so we gotta drop a review from the house of the Man of Steel and the Dark Knight. And in that spirit we have a much belated review of Titans Season 3. With a Titans Tower-sized SPOILER ALERT let’s break it down in three punches:
Punch #1 Titans Rise and Fall
Let’s backtrack to Season 2 a bit. It was decent but I found the original Titans got pushed aside to give more screen time to the newer heroes. And I will give Season 3 credit for balancing the characters better, even it did mean holding two of the best characters, Raven and Donna Troy, until the third act. And though we don’t get much of them I enjoyed Raven’s time on Themyscira (that white costume was awesome) and Donna’s journey in the afterlife and rise as a Gotham resistance leader.
Another method used to tighten the team was getting rid of Hawk and Dove pretty early, with the former getting killed blown up by Red Hood (oh, we’ll get to him) and the latter leaving the team following his death. I was never a fan of the two as I found them a bit bland, but I like what was done with them here. Hawk/Hank’s death was well done and impactful and I liked him as an afterlife hero. And Dove had her best fight scene of the series when she hijacks a gold shipment trying to save him.
The other heroes’ arcs was more of a mixed bag. I thought Savannah Welch was awesome as Barbara Gordon and I liked her relationship with Dick/Nightwing. Though the backstory of them moonlighting as burglars felt unnecessary and not true to the characters. And speaking of Dick, did he get hit with some dumb gas by Scarecrow (we’ll get to him soon too) because he kept making stupid decision after decision when dealing with Red Hood. His inanity culminated in using Kryptonite against Connor/Superboy and Krypto. What the hell dude?! At least he had some good action scenes because I repeatedly wanted to hit him in his stupid head.
Another character making some weird decisions was Starfire. She seriously brought her homicidal sister Blackfire to come live with her and the Titans in Wayne Manor? I mean, it worked out well but that was one crazy idea. The sisters’ arc was cool, Damaris Lewis was pretty dang good, and Connor/Blackfire made for a surprisingly charming couple. But did he have to blow up her ship? Did he also get hit by dumb gas? And they did Bruce Wayne very dirty in this season. I could believe him offing Joker (though that was undermined by Jason’s resurrection) but the whole abandoning the cowl and going suicidal? Get the hell out of here with that crap. Yeah, somebody is not a Bat Fan. At least Beast Boy remained true to form and actually turned into another animal (a bat). I was seriously going to start calling him Tiger Boy.
Punch #2 Below the Hood
Where Titans Season 3 loses its most points is in the villains. The only one I liked was Lady Vic. Sure she was a little generic but she was bloodthirsty and had style. Unfortunately she disappeared as quickly as she appeared. Rather our main bad guys were Jason Todd’s Red Hood and Jonathan Crane, formerly known as Bat villain Scarecrow. Let’s do Red Hood first.
Now I liked Curran Walters as Robin in Season 2. Sure he was an insufferable backside but it was a character you loved to hate. Nothing about him as Red Hood worked for me. I found the costume hideous and looks like a cheap cosplay knock off. How hard it is to get the Red Hood costume right? I’m not a costume designer, but I don’t think it’s that difficult. His turn from hero to murderous bad guy felt like too much of a leap. They could have tried the CW “Lazarus Pit makes you darker” plot point and ditched the later Nightwing and Gotham resident resurrections (neither of which worked for me). But nope. Jason is still shaken from his Deathstroke encounter, gets hooked on a “brave” drug (I still have no idea how it actually works), gets killed by Joker, resurrected by Crane and now is suddenly a Joker-esque villain who also wants to be a hero or something. It doesn’t make a lick of sense and the characterisation is all over the place. They should have just kept him comic-accurate as a Punisher-esque anti-hero and clash with the Titans that way. It would have worked way better than him being Crane b—h.
And speaking of Crane, what a giant letdown of a big bad. I don’t know why they even chose Scarecrow when the character is so unlike his counterpart in the comics and other media. He’s not fear-obsessed, super quippy and Vincent Kartheiser seems to be doing a weird mix of Seinfeld, Hannibal Lecter and the Riddler. Every time he was onscreen he just sucked the energy out of the room. He’s never all that interesting nor intimidating and during his whole backstory, mother-hating, split personality and kidnap/gruesome murder of the pizza guy I kept waiting for the story to move back to something else. Anything else.
And where did he get the money to basically buy the entire Gotham police force, leading to a less than an interesting interpretation of comics storyline No Man’s Land? What a huge stepdown from Deathstroke.
Punch #3 Less Than Super
In terms of overall story, Titans Season 3 core storyline is not very good but there are some intriguing subplots that keeps things entertaining. Though even in these the writing is at times shaky. I liked Jay Lycurgo as fanboy and wannabe Robin Tim Drake but him figuring out Nightwing’s identity and his knowledge of Selina Kyle felt like a stretch. And Tim, Donna and Hank go to the train/ghoul afterlife but Dick gets tormented by Crane in a nightmare-scape? They could have at least referenced the difference. And yeah, the “purple rain” solution was as silly as it sounds.
I was hugely dissatisfied at the end of Season 3 but upon reflection there are some things I did actually like. And any series that has Krypto heat vision blasting goons is at least worth watching. I just hope they give us better villains and more consistent characterisation come Season 4 on HBO Max.
Editor Jules’s Score: 6 out of 10
So how would you rate Titans Season 3? And you can check out more DC content below:
Julien “Editor Jules” Neaves is a TARDIS-flying, Force-using Trekkie whose bedroom stories were by Freddy Krueger, learned to be a superhero from Marvel, but dreams of being Batman. I love promoting Caribbean film (Cariwood), creating board games and I am an aspiring author. I say things like “12 flavours of awesome sauce”. Read more.