Friday, February 02, 2018

BATMAN AND HARLEY QUINN (2017) - Animated Film

I've been a big fan of DC's animated features for about 10 years now. I've found each and every one of them to be worth seeing and highly entertaining with the best of the lot being some of the among the most impressive animated superhero tales I've ever seen. Even the occasional misstep (such as inserting a salacious sexual angle into their animated adaptation of THE KILLING JOKE) wasn't enough for me to dislike the film.

So last night I finally caught up with last year's BATMAN AND HARLEY QUINN animated feature and was immediately happy to see that Bruce Timm was involved. Timm is the creator of Harley Quinn from back in the Batman the Animated Series days and to learn he was one of the guiding forces shepherding this tale to this screen made me confident it would be solid work. For my tastes, Mr. Timm could continue doing Batman the Animated Series sequel films like this for the next 40 to 60 years and I would be a happy man.

The first thing I noticed is that the title is a little off. In actuality this is a Batman, Nightwing and Harley Quinn story which for me makes it even more interesting. Continuing the dynamic from the animated series between Batman and the first Robin now grown into his 20s as Nightwing adds a large amount of fun to those already established characterizations that I really enjoyed revisiting. The humor in the story is well handled for the most part, with only the fart joke being out of place.

The choice of villains was well done as well with Poison Ivy and Jason Woodrow a.k.a. The Fluoronic Man working to turn the world into a planet inhabited only by plants. This eventually involves Swamp Thing but not the Swamp Thing most fans might be used to seeing. This is the Earth Elemental Swampy more concerned with communing with the Parliament of Trees than the mucky protector of the innocent forest travelers.

The PG-13 nature of things allows for some stronger than average language and an amusing (and inevitable) sexual encounter between Dick Grayson and Harley. Her comments about this lustful connection stimulate several memorable, very funny lines. And stick around through the credits to learn how a semi-reformed Harley will earn her place in society going forward. 

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