At this point, it's not exactly a huge or even divisive statement to say that DC projects are largely bloated and overly dark grit-fests, which are hard to enjoy by even the most forgiving audiences. The only way that it could be worse is if DC decided to respond to such criticism by being overly defensive and not accepting that it has a problem. Enter 'Titans.'
Based on the famous comic team the Teen Titans, the show debuted its trailer at this year's San Diego Comic Con and immediately drew mockery for its blatant attempt to ape Christopher Nolan's dark and gritty visual aesthetic which worked precisely once for 'The Dark Knight,' but DC has been trying to replicate for over a decade now.
In particular, the trailer was ruthlessly derided for having Robin say "F*** Batman." Meant to highlight how this version of the character intended to step out of his mentor's shadow, audiences outright laughed at the cringe-worthy line. It felt more like a middle-school student trying to prove how adult his script was by throwing in an unnecessary swear.
And now, 'Titans' has released a new promotional video where it addresses one of the most savage cultural critics of the last few years: Ryan Reynolds' Deadpool. In his smash hit sequel, Deadpool cracks numerous jokes at the expense of the still-shambling DCEU films, including one particular comment about how the anti-hero Cable is so dark in nature that he could be from a DC film.
The video from 'Titans' presents the quote, attributes it to Deadpool, and then presents a hyper-edited, under-lit fight sequence where Robin bloodies a group of thugs, ending with a cheeky offer for Mr. Pool to "Suck it," and a splattering of blood to once again enforce the idea that the show is graphic and gritty and therefore adult.
Here's the thing: as a response to criticism, the video pretty much outright fails. The property is tangentially accused of being overly dark and, to prove otherwise, the show makes...an overly dark video capped off by what is essentially a childish, whiny cry of "shut up!" While the dark DC visual style has its defenders, nobody can say this was the best way to respond to Deadpool. Even the man himself has a perfect analysis of the video already lined up.
'Titans' is set to air on DC's new streaming service DC Universe, and on Netflix for international servers, and will debut on Oct. 12. It has already been renewed for a second season.