Batman and Harley Quinn Review

by Andrew Kiess

Many Batman fans are in agreement that Batman: The Animated Series is among the greatest comic book adaptations out there. For many of us, it has defined the character of Batman and his supporting cast. So, when co-creator Bruce Timm returns to the style and characters that first captured our imaginations, only greatness can happen, right?

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Batman and Harley Quinn is the latest DC animated feature film to get the one-night only theater treatment before being released on demand, following the success of The Killing Joke and Return of the Caped Crusaders. While I enjoyed Crusaders, neither of these one-night only showings featured what I considered to be the “best” of the recent animated films (I thought Judas Contract and Justice League Dark were fantastic), I was still excited to see what looked to be a long lost episode of The New Batman Adventures. What I got fell short of my expectations.

The opening few scenes of the films did not help my perception of the project overall. The animation looked cheap and the characters inconsistent. As the movie went on, the animation improved, but that’s when the story developed.

The plot of the film centers around Poison Ivy (voiced by Paget Brewster) and Jason Woodrue, the Floronic Man (Kevin Michael Richardson) plotting to recreate the event that turned Alec Holland into Swamp Thing on a global scale, transforming all humanity into The Green. Batman (Kevin Conroy) and Nightwing (Loren Lester) enlist the help of a reformed Harley Quinn (Melissa Rauch) to track down Ivy and save the world.

On the surface, this still feels like a new episode of Batman. But as has been the case with many of the latest DC animated film, there seemed to be an imperative to “adult it up.” In theory, I don’t think this is necessarily a good or bad thing. It worked extraordinarily well in both The Judas Contract and Justice League Dark, but failed miserably with movies like The Killing Joke and Assault on Arkham. Harley Quinn is no stranger to being sexualized, and when done right it can create empathy for the character as someone who has overcome objectification. When done wrong, it just feeds into the objectification that the character (and, let’s face it, the comic book industry as a whole) has been fighting against.

We meet Harley working as a risqué waitress, where she beats up a customer for attempting to grope her. When Nightwing later questions her about it, she explains that it’s the only job she can get due to her past with The Joker being on her record. Instead of this being a moment to create empathy, it is followed up by a ridiculous scene where it is not-so-subtly implied that her an Nightwing, to quote Marv from Sin City, “do the nasty.” From the way the scene is drawn to the absolute lack of any reason for this to be in the film completely disservice the character, and is, in one man’s opinion, the opposite of “adult”. It is pure adolescent fantasy, with no real appreciation for storytelling.

To make matters worse, the rest of the humor in the film is bizarrely sophomoric. There is not much I can write that would fully explain just how off-putting a fart joke is in a movie that is trying to convince me that it is an “adult comedy.” A ten minute scene in a karaoke bar with ridiculous dancing and singing did nothing but add to the ever-changing tone. The story progresses to an inevitable appearance by Alec Holland himself, which was simply the final disappointment in a long line of disappointments.

Perhaps I am being too harsh. I have seen several positive reactions and some middle of the road reactions from many outlets online. But for me, Batman and Harley Quinn was a failure on every level and never engaged me for a single moment. As always, I would recommend you judge for yourself if you are interested in seeing it, but I think this will join The Killing Joke as the second of the DC animated films to not have a home on my shelf.

 

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OP ED: Why Matt Reeves Deserves Creative Control over ‘The Batman’

Matt-Reeves-The-Batman

 

By

John McKee

For a while, it looked like Matt Reeves just might not direct our next Batman film. News spread like wildfire that he had backed down and wouldn’t take the project, despite reaching “final talks” just weeks before. Per Birth. Movies. Death. Matt Reeves had “finally seen Batman v Superman and run away while he still could.”

Interestingly enough, Reeves signed on about a week and a half later to direct The Batman. Perhaps he had seen Batman v Superman and decided to add his name to the incredibly talented DC Universe. But what kept him from signing on in the first place? Money is an unlikely answer; Warner Bothers knows how much they have to shovel out for Batman films. The most obvious issue was creative control.

Seth Graham-Smith, Michele MacLauren, Rick Famuyiwa, David Ayer. All names of directors in the DC Universe who either left due to “creative differences” or in the case of Ayer, stayed on only to witness his film carved up and rehashed by test audiences and studio interference. Zack Snyder was demoted a tad on Justice League and Ben Affleck promoted as a way to respond to Batman v Superman’s reviews (ironically brought about mostly by the studio’s interference—we got the 2.5 hour slap job instead of the masterpiece Snyder originally had in mind now called the Ultimate Edition). So Warner Bros., the studio with a history of letting directors do their thing, has been unafraid of late to say “no” to a director.

Which is why Matt Reeves must be given full creative control over The Batman (and probably has) in order to make the film as great as possible. Ben Affleck wanted less to shoulder when he stepped down from The Batman. If WB/DC wants Affleck to make a Batman trilogy then it all rests on The Batman’s success. There is no indication (as Affleck said) that he will leave the role prematurely—there are huge loose ends to tie up, such as the Knightmare sequences in Batman v Superman. There is so much to explore with this character. So in order to keep Reeves on and make the film great, the studio needs to do what they did before—hand it over and TRUST the director. Tim Burton in 1980s. Christopher Nolan in early 2000s. Matt Reeves 2010s.

Great Batman films come from a healthy director-actor relationship. Affleck has gone on to say the director is the “artist” who makes Batman look right on set and in post: Affleck and Terrio write the comics and the director draws them to life. Matt Reeves has a history with the Apes franchise of not only rescuing it last minute, but intuitively realizing which character to focus the films on. With that kind of eye for filmmaking and characterization, Reeves can easily get The Batman off the ground and possibly help top The Dark Knight as the most widely acclaimed Batman film of all time. All that needs to happen is Warner Bros. taking a step back. They have done their job to this point by signing Affleck, Reeves, Terrio, and the rest. They need to trust Matt Reeves to handle the film and give him carte blanche to do what he needs to do to make the very best Batman film that he can.

Shanlian on Batman Episode 59 – Suicide Squad “Blitz” trailer breakdown

The crew takes to the web to breakdown the latest “Blitz” trailer for Suicide Squad. Tune in to see what scenes stand out the most to use and see weather or not we are still hyped for this movie to come out!

Also check out the video we did for this episode right here! https://youtu.be/gqyNeCpna8c

 

Batman-On-Film Shanlian On Batman Special Crossover

Batman-On-Film’s founder Bill “Jett” Ramey and his crew team up with the guys from Shanlian on Batman to talk Batman V Superman Dawn of Justice. At this point pretty much everyone has seen this film but in all fairness we must say, obviously, ***THIS PODCAST CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR BATMAN V SUPERMAN DAWN OF JUSTCE** Now with that being out of the way, come hang out with the BOF & SoB crews while they go over everything that they liked, disliked, would have changed, and interpreted from this film! Don’t forget to visit www.batman-on-film.com for more BOF and as always check SoB out at www.ShanlianOnBatman.com as well as www.PodcastEmpireNetwork.Com

Shanlian On Batman Episode 57 wsg Jim Vejvoda

Jim “Stax” Vejvoda has been writing for IGN Filmforce since 2006, and we have him on the show this week! The guys talk to Stax about his early interests, how he got his start at IGN, the DC universe, (of course) Batman V Superman Dawn of Justice, and sooo much more! Hope you enjoy this episode and make sure that you check us out over at www.PodcastEmpireNetwork.com!

Shanlian on Batman Episode 56

We are back from a little business break and we brought a new friendly voice! We kick off this podcast with the introduction of Rheanna Haaland. We debut our new website the Podcast Empire Network! Justin tells us about his Wanner Bros/movie theater early viewing mix up! We talk ticket tracking for BvS, thoughts about justice league, and so much more. Enjoy this one guys its packed full of info.

Lords of Film Episode 11 wsg Mark Hughes

Mark Hughes makes his first appearance on Lords of Film to talk with the guys about The Oscars. Everything from the diversity and/or lack of, picks, and predictions! Also being the Batman fans we all are we get into some Batman V Superman stuff as well. Enjoy and don’t forget to like, comment, and share these podcast, your input really helps out the show!

Shanlian on Batman Episode 54 wsg Jay Oliva

We got Jay Oliva on the show to discuss his insanely impressive career in the DC world. Everyone is familiar with Jay’s work from Batman the Dark Knight Returns pts 1 & 2, Batman Assault on Arkham, Justice League Wars, Batman vs Robin, pretty much all your favorite animated DC films! Dont miss this one, we even talk about the newly released Batman Bad Blood, So strap in with Shanlian on Batman and enjoy this fine interview with Jay Oliva!

Lords of Film Episode 10 wsg Jon Schnepp & Holly Payne

The guys have Jon Schnepp & Holly Payne on the show to discuss their incredible documentary, The Death of Superman Lives What Happened. The story of how this idea was turned into a film and the people that were involved is a must-hear! Grab a seat or take a download with you in the car and hang out with Lords of Film.