Review: Batman and Harley Quinn (2017)

Batman and Harley Quinn (2017)

Directed by: Sam Liu | 71 minutes | animation, action, adventure, comedy, fantasy, science fiction | Original voice cast: Kevin Conroy, Melissa Rauch, Paget Brewster, Loren Lester, Kevin Michael Richardson, Eric Bauza, Trevor Devall, John DiMaggio, Robin Atkin Downes, Rob Paulsen, Mindy Sterling, Bruce Timm

A break-in at STAR Labs leads to the theft of a secret science file by recognized villains Poison Ivy and Floronic Man. The ultimate goal of the two villains: to transform all animal (and therefore also human) life on earth into hybrids between plant and animal. The event kicks off a wave of commotion and crime that soon engulfs Gotham City. Batman and his companion Nightwing are forced to enlist the help of the eccentric and unpredictable Harley Quinn.

‘Batman and Harley Quinn’ is already the twenty-ninth DC Universe Animated Original Movie and brings together what is arguably the most beloved DC superhero with one of the most popular villains. A pairing that does provide the necessary humorous scenes. The cold-blooded, deadly serious and equipped with a world vision that is as dark as it is realistic, is a complete opposite of the jumpy and at times crazy sociopath Harley Quinn. While Batman appreciates his companion Nightwing Harley’s presence, the former resident of Arkham Asylum (Gotham’s renowned psychiatric facility) regularly gets on the Dark Knight’s nerves. The film is drawn in the same style as the popular series ‘Batman: The Animated Series’ in the nineties and features quite a few good and nice looking action scenes.

In terms of entertainment value, this smooth animation film scores a big enough. The balance between the comic and more dramatic aspects of the story, on the other hand, is sometimes a bit off, giving the film a somewhat ambivalent character. Is ‘Batman and Harley Quinn’ mainly a comedy film that nods to the older Batman classics or a more serious exploration of the DC universe and some of its well-known and lesser-known characters? It is not always easy to say. In addition, the film also contains a few fragments that are clearly intended to make people laugh, but in reality slow down and stop the story unnecessarily. And although the title ‘Batman and Harley Quinn’ suggests a certain equivalence between the two characters, it is mainly the latter of the two who can indulge to their heart’s content in this animation.

‘Batman and Harley Quinn’ is certainly not the best or most profound animated film DC has made in recent years. Still, it’s an entertaining piece of animation work that will please many DC followers. And the viewers who can still remember ‘Batman: The Animated Series’ get a free piece of nostalgia in the form of a visual trip down memory lane.

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