In her twenty fifth year in existence of Harley Quinn and the seventy-something year of existence for Batman, DC Entertainment released Batman and Harley Quinn. I was very excited when I saw the announcement and trailer for Batman and Harley Quinn while my older brother groaned and said “seriously, more Harley Quinn?” And upon watching Batman and Harley Quinn I will say I was disappointed in a sense. I didn’t hate the movie, but I feel that things could have been done better.
The Good Things
One of the things fans of DC Comics will notice off the bat is that the movie is animated in the same style as the Batman The Animated Series using the same character models for the characters of Batman, Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, a few background henchmen, and Nightwing (minus fugly 90’s mullet). The movie gave a very strong nostalgic feeling for me as someone who grew up with the DC Animated Universe from the beginning of Batman TAS in 1993 to the end of Justice League Unlimited in 2006.
One of the neat things about the film is that the character models for a scene that takes place in a bar for henchmen used character models for nearly all the henchmen featured in Batman TAS and fans of the series can have fun trying to identify what episode each henchmen was in. There’s also a really fun musical number of Harley singing Hanging on the Telephone that even causes both Batman and Nightwing to briefly break out of their normal characterization.
One of the best things of the movie I really liked was that it was a Harley Quinn movie without the Joker. Rather than rely on the constant conflict between Harley and Joker, this movie focused on the genuine friendship between Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy. For those that don’t know in the comics after getting thrown out by the Joker one time too many Poison Ivy takes in Harley Quinn and the two start a friendship that at times is a little romantic. This friendship plays a key role in the movie for both Poison Ivy and Harley as the former begins to question if what she is doing really good for the earth and is going to far for the greater good.
In this film Harley Quinn is recruited from her attempt to live a clean life by Batman and Nightwing to save the world from Poison Ivy and Floronic Man who want to turn all living creatures on earth into animal/plant hybrids in order to save the earth from climate change. Initially Harley is only recruited for the sake of finding out the location of Poison Ivy, but Harley joins along because she enjoys being alive and a human.
The Bad Parts
Despite what I mentioned above about the film using the same animation models of Batman TAS for both the setting and character, the movie is not meant for kids and I can’t guarantee all viewers will get the same nostalgic feeling I got. There is swearing and a scene where Harley shoots the finger at a friend of hers which some parents who purchased the movie in hopes of bonding with their kids over Harley might not be so comfortable with. There’s also a fair amount of PG13 level gore present, another thing parents might not be so comfortable with. Particularly if their daughter was exposed to Harley via DC Superhero Girls.
Harley Quinn is also very sexualized for the first third of the movie until she gets her Harley Quinn attire on. She can be seen in a ‘sexy Harley Quinn’ costume as part of her job, strips down to her underwear in front of Nightwing (and possibly has consensual sex with him). I’m not really sure if the goal was for Harley to celebrate her sexuality, to be objectified, or a strange mockery of sexualization while just having fun with the character.
Sadly, there are moments where the movie is a little dull and even relied on potty humor (okay fine, Harley Quinn producing farts so foul smelling that even Batman pulled over at a gas station is pretty damn funny).
Some fans have complained over Melissa Rauch voicing Harley instead of Terra Strong, and while Rauch does kinda sound like Velma Dinkly with a brooklyn accent, you overlook it after a while.
Not all fans of Batman TAS or Harley Quinn will love this movie, but I enjoyed it enough to write a review on it.
I give Batman and Harley Quinn three and a half sudden musical numbers out of five.