'Titans' Review Round-Up: The Darkness And Violence Might Be A Bit Much, But There's Potential Here

DC Comics fans seem to mostly be split on their excitement for the DC Universe's first streaming series. After the first Titans trailer arrived with the famous "F*** Batman" line spouted out of Robin's mouth, it was clear this was going to be a dark and gritty series taking full advantage of the lack censors that network television has to worry about. However, in the first reactions following the show's premiere at New York Comic-Con, it seems like maybe Titans takes things a bit too far. But at the same time, a good amount of reviews find potential for the series to grow.

Read our Titans reviews round-up below to find out more.

Vinnie Mancuso at Collider wasn't impressed with the series at all:

Titans is the absolute zenith of the post-Nolan, post-Dark Knight era of "mature" comic book storytelling, a show with both the grittiness and enjoyability factor of sandpaper. It's Riverdale with zero self-awareness. Gotham without a whiff of fun. It's Arrow if The CW allowed for gratuitous, minutes-long shots of dudes getting beaten with a stick. All put together, Titans lands just about as gracefully as The Flying Graysons.

IGN's review, which doesn't seem to be attributed to anyone, thinks the show has potential to grow:

The Titans series premiere is an indecisive mix of fun, comics-inspired moments and gratuitous violence, which makes it hard to get a read on what kind of show it wants to be. When the series focuses on its characters and not trying to shock or scare us, it's an engaging ride – like a fledgling sidekick, it just needs to learn a little more discipline before it's allowed on the streets unsupervised.

Merill Barr at Forbes says the series will be jarring for some fans, but may still be appealing:

Titans is a dark and gritty series very far removed from the image the Teen Titans have garnered through a variety of animated outings over the last decade, which is what makes the Riverdale comparison so fitting. It's an image of these heroes many are going to find jarring and possibly even failing. But, the ones that take the tone in stride are going to find themselves in the middle of a series dialed directly into their interests.

Put bluntly, this is not a broad appealing show. Not everyone is going to want to see what became of the likes of Robin and Raven through this lens. That doesn't mean it's bad, but it does mean it's different, and it's hard to judge how far outside the lines fans wanted DC to go for not only their first original program on the streaming service but also the first project to bring many of these characters into the world of live action.

Kevin Melrose at Comic Book Resources also doesn't think the series is for the fans, but that may not be a bad thing:

It's dark, just as the trailers indicate, with a level of violence that races past anything on The CW's Arrowverse and teeters into Zack Snyder-era DC Extended Universe territory. Heroes maim and kill, with some frequency, in the three episodes provided for review, although not always on purpose. It goes without saying, then, that Titans isn't suitable for young viewers, who aren't the target audience for this streaming service anyway. However, neither is the series aimed at fans of DC's classic New Teen Titans, who will undoubtedly bristle at the tone and quibble with the characterizations, to say nothing of the lineup (a later episode is titled "Donna Troy," which may salve that particular wound). Yet, for all of those caveats, there is something enjoyable about Titans.

It's a mystery, or rather a series of mysteries, that draws in the audience even as it ensnares the characters, and moves at such a brisk pace that we don't ponder the passage of time in this DC Universe, or puzzle over unlikely coincidences, which is all for the best.

Titans Reviews

Pierce Lydon at Newsarama wasn't impressed by the first episode:

The thing that probably most sets Titans apart from other iterations of the DCU on film is the violence that's on display. More than anything, it feels completely out of line with the characters in general. Dick Grayson's angst-fueled alleyway fight scene is entertaining until it gets to the point where he's almost gleefully running a thug's face across the jagged edges of a shattered car window. Who is this character? Certainly not the Dick Grayson that audiences might be familiar with. And that really undercuts the serious tone of the show, the violence isn't scary or intense – it goes so far that's almost just goofy.

On the whole, Titans could have been a lot worse but it's still not great. The uneven tone and odd plotting decisions betray decent performances by the main cast. The lack of a landing point at the end of the first episode speaks to that as well. By the time the credits roll, we don't have any clearer idea who these characters are, what their motivations might be or even who might be considered their opposition in this world. But if you're the type who has powered through similar concerns with other streaming superhero offerings, you might be rewarded for your endurance.

Rosie Knight at Nerdist offered a more positive reaction than most:

Looking more like a HBO limited series than a CW show, Titans quickly establishes itself as a unique, sometimes harrowing, and surprisingly engaging prospect. It's one that doesn't fall into the slow pacing and overwrought narratives of some "serious" comics adaptations. In fact, the show often feels just like reading a comic book. Interesting framing, original action, and dynamic character beats make the first episode of Titans fly past while still making us care about the core cast that it introduces.

If the rest of Titans delivers on the promise of the pilot, then DC Universe has clearly got some serious tricks up their sleeve and we can't wait to see what the Titans get up to next.

Nathaniel Brail at Heroic Hollywood calls Titans the best DC Comics series so far:

What starts out a bit slow develops into great superhero TV. The casting, acting and production quality are top notch. If the first trailer pushed you away, just give the series a chance and it will win you over. Titans is definitely not for young kids, so parents beware. I actually liked Titans so much I couldn't put in down. I'd definitely watch more than one season of this so I look forward to what's to come. If you're looking for good TV, this is it. Titans is the DC Comics series that you've been waiting for.

Charlie Ridgely at ComicBook.com also came away satisfied with the series:

There are certainly things in Titans that won't work for everyone. The show can be a bit a cheesy at times, and you might wonder if it's taking itself to seriously. There are also just a few kinks in the scripts — slight pacing issues and a couple of lines that fall completely flat — but they are few and far between. For every moment that I thought about groaning, there are at least seven at which I laughed, cheered, or silently pumped my fist.

At its core, Titans truly is a comic book come to life. It's action-packed and exciting, funny from time to time, and most importantly, it has an engaging story that keeps you longing for that next issue.

David Betancourt at The Washington Post says it's not as good as the Marvel shows on Netflix, but it can grow:

"Titans" isn't up to par with a Netflix/Marvel superhero streaming experience. But there are enough things they could do to take it to that level if this series plays its cards right.

These characters represent one of DC's most popular properties. DC has hooked a huge young following with "Teen Titans Go!," but we'll have to stick with this streaming service for a bit to see how this live-action version forces the franchise to grow up hard and fast.


The reactions to Titans are actually a little more positive than I had anticipated. It seems like the show needs time to grow and figure itself, maybe getting the freedom for unlimited violence and sex out of the way so it can focus more on the characters. So perhaps it'll be worth getting a DC Universe subscription after the first season is available to binge watch in a single weekend.

Titans arrives on DC Universe starting on October 12, 2018.