Titans Season 4 Review: A More Focused Season Full Of Supernatural Horrors And Effective Humor

"Titans" is off to what could be its best season yet, as it finally puts the focus on the team itself rather than on the legacy of its mentors. The new season brings horror and magic to the show in thrilling ways, which combines with the signature edgy tone of "Titans" to deliver some wacky comic book weirdness and thrills.

Premiering as the first original show on the defunct DC Universe streaming platform, "Titans" offered something different from the Arrowverse or the theatrical movies; a dark, gritty and edgy show that skews closer to the Snyderverse than, say, the whimsical "Doom Patrol." After all, "Titans" made headlines with its first trailer showing Robin shouting "F*** Batman." But the show quickly evolved to be more than that. Sure, it is still edgy, but "Titans" also embraces the full spectrum of comic book stories, their weirdness, their seriousness, and more. This is a show that recognizes that Batman's sidekicks would be severely traumatized, but it also has time to show Batman doing The Batusi

It is that balance of tone that makes "Titans" special and worth watching, and it is also what makes this a great start to the season. Blending Zack Snyder with Tim Burton and the soap opera antics and angst of the Arrowverse, with a dash of the "Teen Titans" cartoon, "Titans" season four brings gloom and angst to a place of dark magic and horror. In its two-episode premiere, the show introduces blood rituals that cause magical snakes to come out of people bleeding out of their eyes, and nods to Superman, and demons, while the characters act as if they belong in "300," leading to effective moments of comedy. One standout scene involves Nightwing stating in all seriousness "I hate ninjas" as a group of them attacks him.

A more focused season

After saving Gotham, the Titans are on a road trip back to San Francisco, but the promise of Conner meeting Superman draws them to Metropolis. Instead of a Man of Steel, they find Lex Luthor, and a conspiracy involving blood mages and a cult devoted to an ancient demon.

Where season three spent too much time on the Bat-family and Bruce Wayne, this season remembers that this is supposed to be a show about a team. Thankfully, the premiere places its focus squarely on the titular Titans, showing how far they've grown and changed, how they support one another and are seasoned enough that they no longer bat an eye at the sight of henchmen or villains. The cast remains fantastic, especially Teagan Croft as Rachel, and Brenton Thwaites as Nightwing, both of whom get to show their characters' compassion and their care towards people in danger. Likewise, the premiere introduces Titus Welliver's Lex Luthor, with Welliver delivering a performance that feels familiar yet fresh, a calm and calculated performance that plays with the audience's familiarity with Luthor while still hiding plenty of secrets.

The start of something new

Hailing from the architect of the Arrowverse, this season makes it clear "Titans" is now the only show holding the torch from that universe, as it follows the formula of those shows. Like "Arrow," it used Deathstroke as the main villain of season two. Now, like "Legends of Tomorrow," the fourth season of "Titans" is all about dark magic, demons, and a dash of horror. The writers have previously proven their ability to handle different tones, and this season is no exception. The balance of street-level superheroics with the supernatural is working rather well, with the show's usual abundance of CGI and VFX mixing with practical buckets of blood dropping all around, and the idea of street-level thugs tapping into bigger powers serving as a natural next step for a team that is comprised of powerful alien, magical, and otherwise superbeings.

"Titans" is not necessarily breaking the mold when it comes to superhero TV, but four seasons in it is balancing the best of both worlds. This is a show that embraces the best of the angsty, edgy tone of the post-Nolan DC universe, and also the weird, funny, absurd world of comic books. With a bigger focus on its titular team, a story about magic and terrors, and a terrific cast, season four of "Titans" is off to a great start.