Batman and Harley Quinn
Thanks to a pass from Fathom Events, I saw the new DCU original animated film, Batman and Harley Quinn, on the big screen. Which makes it the first one I’ve watched all the way through without distraction. It only aired for one night, but in future (because I imagine there will be additional releases of this type), if you’re interested in the movie, I recommend that approach, particularly if, like me, your attention is susceptible to wander to the internet.
That’s the best thing I can say about the movie, unfortunately. In a word, it’s bizarre. I was surprised to see that it was rated PG-13 — I wouldn’t have been surprised to see an R just due to the number of sexual references it includes (as well as some violence, but our culture reacts worse to sex in a cartoon). There’s also some profanity, including the S-word.
This was implied to be a return to the glory days of Batman: The Animated Series, from the voice of Kevin Conroy as Batman to the movie’s story being created by Bruce Timm. I hope parents aren’t distracted by that, because this is closer to a Robot Chicken version of that show. As Harley says, the emphasis is on “naughty fun time”, including the Superbabes restaurant where the waitresses wear even skimpier versions of DC superheroine costumes. We also wound up debating, after a scene where she and Nightwing get it on after she ties him up, the nature of consent.
The plot is generic. The Floronic Man (who’s portrayed as a mix of Swamp Thing and the Hulk) and Poison Ivy want to end the “world of screaming meat” in order to prevent the continuing destruction of the natural environment. In order to stop them, Batman and Nightwing enlist Harley Quinn’s help to find Ivy. Along the way, we get gratuitous fights and fart jokes.
My favorite parts of the movie were two irrelevant bits, parts that weren’t really representative of the rest of the film. First, the opening credits were done in 50s-style art that reminded me of MAD magazine, as the characters chase each other around.
Second, for no good reason, there are two musical numbers in a bar for henchmen the trio visits. Harley, as voiced by Melissa Rauch (The Big Bang Theory), does an excellent job with “Hanging on the Telephone” (although I could have done without the stripper-style boob waggle). Also, Rob Paulsen plays a villainous pair of twins singing the 70s radio staple “Don’t Pull Your Love”. I didn’t know who the characters were supposed to be — we guessed Tweedledum and Tweedledee — but IMDb trivia says they were “Two Face’s twin henchmen Min and Max”.
Also, this slide in the pre-show trivia made me laugh, because of option D.