Tuesday, September 26, 2017

My Review of Batman And Harley Quinn (2017)

Written by Bruce Timm & James Krieg
Directed by Sam Liu

Harley Quinn: "You think I'm just some dizzy airhead that don't know nothin'. Do you know what I am?"
Batman: "My punishment for dropping out of med school."

I should've reviewed this one last month but after the overwhelmingly negative reviews for it, I wasn't particularly in a rush to watch and I certainly had no intention of buying it either but with Gotham back, it got me in the mood to finally seek it out and eh, I wish I hadn't bothered.

The main plot involves a team up between Poison Ivy (Paget Brewster) and Floronic Man (Kevin Michael Richardson) coming up with a diabolical scheme to turn the whole planet into plant creature based on the same formula used on Swamp Thing (John DiMaggio) and in order to stop them, both Batman (Kevin Conroy) and Nightwing (Loren Lester) have to team up with an unlikely person. Actually, a very likely person considering the title of this animated movie.

Yup, because the character hasn't had enough with last year's Suicide Squad (where she was endlessly enjoyable) and the current DC Rebirth comics shoehorning her into as many releases as possible, Harley Quinn finds herself reporting for duty and grudgingly helping the Dynamic Duo to stop her former BFF from completing her insane scheme with Woodrue.

Voiced by Melissa Raunch from The Big Bang Theory, this version of Harley Quinn is certainly a bit hard to take at times. While the manic pixie girl element of the character is somewhat toned down, the more bolshy and aggressive side certainly got ramped up throughout this movie. There's one particularly unpleasant tryst scene with Nightwing that wasn't needed or added anything to the story and the scene where Harley is passing wind in the Batmobile also takes things to a new low.

On the other hand, she does keep both Batman and Nightwing on their toes and there's a nice moment in a dive bar in Bludhaven where she gets to strut her vocal chords in one genuinely entertaining scene. Other than that, the movie really goes overboard with Harley's petulant side and Batman's a bit too joyless even for him at times.

As for the main plot, neither Poison Ivy nor Floronic Man are given much to really do. Their scheme is bonkers and while Harley's method for getting through to Ivy at least makes some sense given their relationship, the mostly off screen way of dealing with Floronic Man, coupled with a disappointing cameo from Swamp Thing just ends the overall plot on an extremely poor note. One of the worst resolutions I've seen in a bit.

- This is meant to be set within the Batman: The Animated Series universe, specifically around The New Batman Adventures era.
- Harley was seen working in the sleazy Superbabes bar. On the plus side, I did love the allusions to Batman 66 during her musical moment here.
- Nice glances at both STAR labs and ARGUS pretty early into the story as well as a few brief cameos from previous animated series.
- A post credit sequence sees Harley getting her own therapy talk show, which definitely wasn't earned. I assume Ivy was sent back to Arkham.

I get that Harley has been flavour of the month for quite a long while but surely, a much more compelling story could've been forged here with her and the Dynamic Duo's pairing. I'll give it points for not actually featuring the Joker or barely mentioning him at all but it's easy to see why so many fans took exception with this particular movie. It's not exactly The Killing Joke in terms of controversial but it's also a massive misfire and waste of it's main characters. Batman And Harley Quinn could've been a fun addition to the particular animated universe it inhabits but it's too much of a mess for even that. A really poor cash in. If you have to watch it, download but don't buy it.

Rating: 5 out of 10

No comments: