BATMAN AND HARLEY QUINN:
A WTF TEAM-UP, BUT A WHOLE LOT OF BAT-FUN WITH PLENTY OF ACTION AND A SURPRISINGLY DECENT SENSE OF HUMOR!
By Nico Beland
Movie Review: *** out of 4
WARNER BROS. ANIMATION
(From left to right) Harley Quinn, Batman, and Nightwing in Batman and Harley Quinn
The Caped Crusader is back in the latest animated feature film based on the beloved DC Comics Batman series, Batman and Harley Quinn. Like last year’s Batman: The Killing Joke and Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders, the film was given a one-night theatrical presentation through Fathom Events followed by a digital release the day after and then a Blu-Ray and DVD release.
I wasn’t super hyped about this one to be honest compared to The Killing Joke because when The Killing Joke movie was first announced I was on like an Avengers high and could not wait to see that movie. But still, it’s Batman how could I miss it? So, I went to one of my local theaters showing it and gave it a watch…and it really surpassed my expectations.
It’s an animated movie in the style of Batman: The Animated Series with beloved voice actors, Kevin Conroy and Loren Lester reprising their roles as Batman and Nightwing, I was expecting something really serious but once in a while some moments of comedy added in because of Harley Quinn. To me, this is pretty much the complete opposite of the infamous Batman & Robin and manages to encompass everything that made Batman so great whether comics, TV, or movies, add in some exciting action and a surprisingly decent sense of humor and you get a very fun Batman movie.
From the dark and gritty Tim Burton movie and animated series to the quirky and campy 1960s Adam West TV show, this is pretty much everything Batman & Robin tried to combine together and completely backfired and it shows that sometimes animation succeeds over Bat Credit Cards. I was very impressed at how funny this movie is and they even throw in a reference involving the comic sound effects from the Adam West show, and Joker’s not even in this picture.
The film follows Poison Ivy (voiced by Paget Brewster-Criminal Minds, The Venture Bros., Grandfathered) and Floronic Man (voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson-Family Guy, Lilo & Stitch, Rick and Morty) embarking on an ecological quest to save the planet but unfortunately eliminate most of humanity as a result. To stop them Batman and Nightwing must form an unlikely partnership with one of their old foes, the Joker’s former henchwoman, Harley Quinn (voiced by Melissa Rauch-The Big Bang Theory, Scooby-Doo and the Beach Beastie, Ice Age: Collision Course) who happens to be Ivy’s BFF and frequent partner-in-crime.
However, Batman’s patience is put to the ultimate test by the unpredictable and untrustworthy Harley in an onslaught of chaos and anarchy the dynamic duo face during their bumpy road trip. Knowing Harley, she is definitely a trickster, makes sense because her former boss was the Clown Prince of Crime himself, so can she really be trusted?
Overall, Batman and Harley Quinn is a fun movie to watch that satisfies Batman fans of all types. Whether you’re a fan of the darker Tim Burton/Christopher Nolan and animated series tone or the light and silly Adam West tone, this movie has you covered, though the plot itself is pretty generic the contents inside of it is where the film truly shines.
For the most part, the movie retains its dark tone from Batman: The Animated Series but then it goes into silly and humorous territory and it strangely works. From Harley Quinn singing a karaoke song in a bar to Batman and Nightwing fighting a bunch of drunk guys in said bar Adam West style as previously mentioned.
The voice acting is solid, Kevin Conroy and Loren Lester just doing their usual shtick since the early 90s and still amazing and Kevin Michael Richardson’s voice alone is always welcome to hear no matter what he’s in. At first, I was disappointed that Tara Strong who was pretty much iconic because of her voice as Harley Quinn didn’t voice her in this film, but I was quite impressed by Melissa Rauch’s take on this psychotic henchwoman and it’s clear that she researched Strong’s work as the character to bring the same amount of chaos and fun to a great character.
My only real issue with the movie is its film rating which isn’t a bad thing but I feel this movie is a really light PG-13 movie. There’s little to no intense violence and some sexual moments but nothing extreme, I’d say it’s about on par with The Mask which is also PG-13 but not for extreme violence but because of some sex innuendos, definitely a better Batman movie to show your kids instead of The Killing Joke that’s for sure.
Batman and Harley Quinn is a fun DC animated film on its own but an even greater tribute to the Batman character. The film finds the perfect midpoint between Adam West camp and traditional dark and gritty and in both categories, succeed, if you’re a Batman fan this is one not to miss.