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Review: Batman and Harley Quinn (World Premiere at Comic Con 2017)

Batman and Harley Quinn (World Premiere at Comic Con 2017)
07.22.2017
8 10

PLOT: Batman and Nightwing form an uneasy but needed alliance with Harley Quinn to stop Poison Ivy and Floronic Man from transforming people into plants.

REVIEW: Last year, San Diego Comic Con was home to the premiere of the divisive animated Batman film, THE KILLING JOKE. As dark and dour as the source material, THE KILLING JOKE was not the uplifting to say the least. So, what better way to perk up this year than with the hilarious and vibrant BATMAN AND HARLEY QUINN. The new film had it's world premiere at SDCC and featured appearances by voice stars Kevin Conroy and Paget Brewster. As someone who finds the current DC animated films to be pretty hit or miss, I was ambivalent heading into the screening of BATMAN AND HARLEY QUINN, but walking out I had a huge smile on my face. The reason? Bruce Timm.

BATMAN AND HARLEY QUINN is banking on the lingering buzz held over from Margot Robbie's take on the Joker's girlfriend after last year's SUICIDE SQUAD. Harley Quinn made her debut on the beloved Batman: The Animated Series, so it was only fitting that the co-creator of that show, Bruce Timm, would write the script for this movie. Recent DC animated films have skewed their visual style more towards an anime feel, but BATMAN AND HARLEY QUINN looks just like the 1990s animated Batman. In fact, bringing Conroy back as Batman and Loren Lester as Nightwing made me reminisce about that show. BATMAN AND HARLEY QUINN is updated with a bit more edge in the form of overt sexual dialogue and some harsh language but is easily my favorite animated Batman movie since MASK OF THE PHANTASM.

Joining the voice talents of Conroy and Lester are Melissa Rauch of The Big Bang Theory as Harley Quinn and Paget Brewster as Poison Ivy. Both are excellent in their roles with Rauch clearly basing her vocal stylings after Arleen Sorkin's original take on the character. Brewster sounds great as Ivy and the interplay between the two close friends who find themselves on opposite sides for the first time makes for some funny moments. As you can tell from the trailer, the other main villain is Floronic Man but this movie is really all about Harley and how her antics get on Batman's nerves. Conroy has always been great at balancing both the light and dramatic sides of Bruce Wayne and his alter ego and it works wonderfully in this film. BATMAN AND HARLEY QUINN is played mostly for laughs but also keeps the action level high.

You may be asking yourself how there is a movie featuring Batman and Harley Quinn but no Joker. Well, the Clown Prince's absence is explained early but I could not help but feel like he was missing from the proceedings. Even though Harley has a dedicated fanbase, she has always felt like a secondary character who works best when supporting the main plot. When she is thrust to the forefront, her antics quickly become tiresome. If I have one complaint about BATMAN AND HARLEY QUINN it is that they are trying too hard to push Harley as an antihero rather than keeping her the bad guy she really needs to be. But, if you are a fan of Harley, this movie is for you.

BATMAN AND HARLEY QUINN works because it doesn't take itself too seriously and lets the comedy take center stage. That is not to say the film is a slouch in the DC canon as you also get appearances by Dr. Alec Holland/Swamp Thing and a lot of call backs to the Dark Knight's legacy. BATMAN AND HARLEY QUINN is a welcome addition to the Batman legacy and should satiate the old school buffs of the Animated Series. But, like last year's THE KILLING JOKE, this is not a movie for younger children. Otherwise, this is a fun movie that will please live action and animated fans alike.

BATMAN AND HARLEY QUINN hits Blu-ray and digital on August 29th.

Source: JoBlo.com

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