When you watch entertaining DC Original Animations like Batman and Harley Quinn, it makes you wonder if DC should give their animation writers and directors all their stalling DC film efforts of late. While Marvel continue to rule the film world, the excellent Wonder Woman aside, movies like this one from DC’s animated Universe impress because they keep it simple and yet, it’s still more exciting and amusing than anything else they’ve had out there recently.
Based on the story by Bruce Timm, the man behind so much impressive work including Batman: The Animated Series, with a teleplay by Timm and Jim Krieg, Batman and Harley Quinn has a slightly more ‘cheesy’ edge to other counterparts but this adventure is all about Harley Quinn and her connection with Nightwing and Batman. Take the story with a pinch of salt because while it’s quite standard, the comedy and chemistry between the characters is what makes this one work.
The story is straightforward: After Poison Ivy and Jason Woodrue’s Floronic Man steal a secret dossier from S.T.AR. Labs, DC’s favourite fictional scientific research facility, Batman and Nightwing are after them to try and stop a deadly, world-wide plan. But, you see, they need help and Harley Quinn just so happens to be fresh out of Arkham, and trying to build some kind of ‘normal’ life outside of trouble, so she’s the perfect person to team up with as she’s friends with Poison Ivy and willing to try and change her world a little.
Although there is that aforementioned more comic touch to events, there are still adult themes that take this animation past a younger audience. One specific scene is question is one between Nightwing and Harley, after she’s tied him up, and has an essence of that additional The Killing Joke scene with its intimacy. Beyond that, there’s plenty of violence, quick-witted scripting and those elements of DC darkness that works so well.
Kevin Conroy’s Batman is spot on as ever but almost sits back as Melissa Rauch’s perfect Harley Quinn steps forward to take the spotlight. Alongside Rauch is Loren Lester’s Nightwing and both of these latter character spark off each other effortlessly. It’s a team up that’s good fun but never goes too far or end up being a parody, there’s still a serious story running as well the underlying unknown of Harley’s character and this keeps the interest focused.
From Harley’s ‘Hanging on the Telephone’ moment, to your classic fights, glasses of milk, good twists and a great finale monologue from Harley, plus ‘Ow My Balls!’ on-screen during a big Dark Knight et all fight, Batman and Harley Quinn is a good amusing hour and a quarter ride. There are also quite a few extras including ‘The Harley Effect’ and ‘Loren Lester: In His Own Voice’, which are both worth a watch. You also get a sneak peek at Batman: Gotham by Gaslight which takes our Gotham hero back to 1889 and the era of Jack the Ripper, which is based on Brian Augustyn and Mike Mignola’s one shot and coming soon to the DC Animation Universe, 8-minute look just below!
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