I am a huge fan of DC Animated films. They are a brilliant balance of comic book mythology and mature stories that all fans can enjoy. However, the most recent release from Warner Brothers greatly falls short of its animated history.
Batman and Harley Quinn is an animated film that tries to carry across Batman: The Animated Series’ art style with the help of Kevin Conroy and Loren Lester, the 90s Batman and Robin voice actors. The story forces Batman to work with Harley in the hopes to stop Poison Ivy and Floronic Man’s evil plan to turn humanity into flora.
But why read my summary, when you can read imdb’s?
Batman and Nightwing are forced to team (up) with the Joker’s sometimes-girlfriend Harley Quinn to stop a global threat brought about by Poison Ivy and Jason Woodrue, the Floronic Man.
That’s right! I forget to clarify that Harley is Joker’s sometimes-girlfriend. How silly of me.
The unfortunate decision of the visuals falls short due to its obvious digital influence. The noir art of Batman: The Animated Series created a sense of maturity that elevated its story and characters out of the colour-popping entertainment that had come before. However, Batman and Harley Quinn has lost the maturity that came with this art style and replaced it with themes that coincided with Scooby-Doo: Mystery Incorporated. Themes that should be left for children’s animated entertainment, and work with children’s entertainment, have been placed alongside blood, drugs, and an insinuated sex between Nightwing and Harley.
The Nightwing and Harley romance is just one of the story’s problems. Not only is ARGUS portrayed as horribly incompetent, but Harley, Batman, and Nightwing all find themselves in a rundown bar for nothing more than a song. Literally. Harley is coerced into singing for the bar to get information from a green afro disco dude, while a henchman in a tiger print tee buys Batman a glass of milk.
Considering the 60’s Batman ‘BAMFs’ and ‘OOFS’ that followed, it should have been orange juice that Batman drank.
The complete disaster of this story comes to a point with the climax. After dropping Swamp Thing’s name all throughout the film and teasing this incredibly powerful hero’s origin, the creature simply emerges from a swamp with a speech about conversing with the Green. Without any defining action, without getting physically involved, the guy then just returns into the swamp.
This was a massive, grand entrance and, because nothing came of it, probably the biggest waste of animation in this film.
The only interesting aspect of this film was the relationship between Harley and Ivy but it wasn’t investigated enough. The comics have revealed that the pair are more than friends, and considering this was entertainment for an older audience, I thought they would have been brave enough to incorporate it into the story. Unfortunately, the audience is left to see Harley remove her cap and makeup on the battlefield in order to cry Ivy into being a good guy.
Which infuriates me, more so because I know Harley is silly but she is also really intelligent. All throughout the film, characters just tear into her ‘stupidity’, and yet she’s a doctor. She has a PhD in psychology and even corrects Batman on his terminology regarding psychopaths.
But if everyone says she’s unintelligent and defines her as Joker’s sometimes-girlfriend I must be wrong.
Granted, there was one moment that really made me laugh and it was when Ivy and Harley were sparring. The pair really worked well together, and I couldn’t help but give the film at least one star for the two ridiculous boob punches and perfect reactions.
And that’s it. One star out of five. This film’s animation was diminished with the digital influence, the story was like a fish flopping on a pier, and the only good thing that could have come from it resulted in tears.
Tears mostly from DC fans.