Batman and Harley Quinn Review (2017)

My History With the Film:
I heard about Batman and Harley Quinn back in May 2017, when the first trailer was released. I was thrilled at the idea of Harley Quinn be featured in an animated film, along with the return of The Batman Animated Series style art design. It was a project that excited me a lot.

I didn’t get around to watching it until December 2017, a few months after its release. Lucky for me, I never read a review about the film and was free to go into it with an open mind. I’m pretty sure that is why I liked this film as much as I do.

I’ll discuss it in further detail in my Rating, but note this is not your typical Batman animated film nor is it an extended episode of the animated series. It’s very much a Harley Quinn movie, with lots of jokes and as far as I’m concerned should stand outside of the whole DC Animated Universe as a one-off.

What The Film Is About (Non-Spoiler):
Poison Ivy and The Floronic Man have hatched a plan to take over the world and Batman is forced to call upon one of Poison Ivy’s oldest pals, Harley Quinn, to help track her down.

What I Liked About It:
-This film is actually quite funny. It’s juvenile humor (fart jokes and the like) but it was fun to see Batman (voiced by Kevin Conroy) react in some of these goofy situations. You don’t normally associate Batman with humor, and in a lot of cases I would hate that, but in this film I enjoyed it. It was a change of pace that worked when you realized this is a Harley Quinn film and not a Batman film.

-The voice acting is wonderful. Kevin Conroy returns as Batman and Loren Lester as Nightwing, which is always great for fans of Batman The Animated Series. I wasn’t big on Melissa Rauch (Big Bang Theory) coming in to take over Harley Quinn, but she did a fantastic job. She was really into the character and I loved her version.

-It’s fantastic to see a return of the Batman The Animated Series art style and I’d love to see more DC animated movies in this style.

-::MINOR SPOILER:: Nightwing and Harley Quinn hooking up was surprising and very well made. Batman’s reaction after finding them tickling each other after was hysterical.

-::MINOR SPOILER:: I was floored that they allowed there to be a joke about Batman and Robin being gay. I’ve heard Kevin Smith talk in the past about how DC would never allow him to insinuate or touch on that subject.

-::MINOR SPOILER:: SWAMP THING IS IN IT! He doesn’t do much and it’s barely a cameo, but he’s in it!

What I Didn’t Like About It:
-I actually liked the musical moments, although I think it ran a little long.

-This film was not marketed properly nor was it titled properly. This is a Harley Quinn movie that just so happens to have Batman and Robin in it. I think way too many fans walked into this expecting a traditional Batman film and left insulted.

-The film featured too much Batman. I almost feel like someone at Warner Brothers refused to sign off unless Batman’s name appeared in the title (and first) and he was featured heavily throughout the film. I would have loved to see Harley Quinn be the sole star of this movie.

Additional Notes:
-A five issue prequel digital comic series was released called Batman and Harley Quinn. Following the release of the movie, a seven issue digital comic series was released telling different stories in the same universe. I’ve read the seven issue sequel comic series and found it be very mediocre. A trade paperback containing all the issues is to be released in the future.

-Alan Moore wrote a story arc called The Anatomy Lesson, and this is where The Floronic Man’s explanation of the tuber fibers he plucked from Swamp Thing was based upon.

-Original Harley Quinn voice actress Arlene Sorkin has retired from all voice acting. Melissa Rauch was cast in her place in this film. It was her debut as Harley Quinn.

Rating:
I enjoyed the hell out of Batman and Harley Quinn.

The art design took me back to my youth and the humor caught me totally off guard. It is a good Batman film? Hell no. The serious, brooding Dark Knight is nowhere to be found here, and instead you get a much lighter hearted approach to the character. Years ago, I would have been up in arms like the rest of the internet about this, but I decided some time ago to stop making fun of Batman’66 and finally embrace it. I realized that there are different iterations of Batman and they each bring something different to the table, and that’s okay. This movie doesn’t ruin The Dark Knight or even infringed on the current DC Cinematic Universe. It’s just a simple self-contained story that offers Batman fans a different take. I’m okay with that and I enjoyed it.

Melissa Rauch surprised me with her portrayal of Harley Quinn. I thought she did the character justice and still made it her own. I was also shocked by how much they sexualized Harley. I’m used to that in the comics/movies/video games, but not so much in animated form. I’m not complaining, I thought it was well done and fitting of the character, I just wasn’t expecting it. The classic Saturday morning art style might have had my mind in a PG world, when it’s actually PG-13.

I’d rate Harley Quinn and Batman as an eight out of ten and say it’s a rental for those with an open mind. If you are a die-hard Batman fan who wants nothing but dark, brooding Batman, then skip this one. You’ll hate it.

 

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