When Poison Ivy and the ‘Floronic Man’ steal research that has a fifty/fifty chance of either turning humanity into plant monsters or just killing everyone on Earth, they need to found post haste. Unfortunately for Batman and Nightwing, the best hope for tracking them down is Ivy’s BFF Harley Quinn.
I was very excited when they first announced this movie only to get a little bit wary when I saw the trailer for two reasons. Firstly was the shot of Harley in her underwear about to get it on with Nightwing. Harley’s rise from animated series only sidekick to the Joker to a major anti-hero in DC’s roster of characters is fantastic and well deserved. So it seemed a step back for a production with Bruce Timm himself at the helm to play up the fanservice angle. Secondly, the trailer did seem to play up the ‘look at how awesome Harley is’ moments. Ms Quinn is intrinsically a fantastic character. Nothing plays against that more than slamming the viewer’s face against the screen and yelling ‘LOOK HOW AWESOME THEY ARE!!!’
Fortunately, my fears on both counts turned out to be unfounded. While the shares the animation style and voice actors with the classic animated series, it’s meant for people who grew up with the series rather than their kids. The 12 rating allows them to get away with humour that wouldn’t have flown in the series. This is fortunate because the main goal is to get you to laugh as many times as possible. This isn’t meant to be any like the more serious Batman entries into DC’s animated library. For example, the Nightwing/Harley bedroom scene could have been lifted from a teenager’s attempt at fan-fic. But the whole point of it is to set up an exasperated Batman walking in on them a few minutes later.
Later on, Harley leads them to a bad guy bar filled with henchmen of Gotham’s supervillains. While Harley negotiates with her contact, several henchmen take advantage of the fact that they’re not doing anything illegal to troll the waiting Batman by sending him over a glass of milk and dancing the ‘Batsui’ (from the 60’s tv show) beside him.
If you were hoping for grim serious Batman go and watch the adaption of The Dark Knight Returns. This is a celebration of both Batman and Harley Quinn by playing the two off each other and it’s a great ride.