Batman and Harley Quinn (2017)

Batman and Harley Quinn (2017), directed by Sam Liu, written by Bruce Timm and Jim Krieg, starring Kevin Conroy, Loren Lester, Melissa Rauch, Paget Brewster, Kevin Michael Richardson

Poison Ivy (Brewster) and Floronic Man (Richardson) are up to no good. This animated tale begins with the duo breaking in the Star Labs in order to capture information about the experiments of one dr. Alec Holland, better known as the Swamp Thing. Their aim is pretty clear, both being plant-based entities: to stop the fleshbags from polluting the world with the help of the mutative research of dr. Holland.

Batman (Conroy) and Nightwing (Lester) are soon at the crime scene and figure out what the plant-loving fiends are up to. But as they don't know where Ivy and Flornic Man have gone to, they need help from someone who knows at least one of them. In this case, they need to recruit Harley Quinn (Rauch), who's dropped under the radar after she was released on parole. So before they find Ivy, they need to find out where Harley is.

Despite the story of two eco-terrorists trying to potentially destroy the whole of humanity and Batman and Nightwing teaming up with the not so stable Harley Quinn, the movie itself is more of a comedy than anything else. Not only does the inclusion of Harley bring a lot of comedy to the story, the tone of the tale feels a lot like a wink towards Adam West era Batman, down to seeing a hangout of henchmen, where they dance all night long and end up in a fight accompanied by appropriate sound effect texts slapped to screen.

The style of humour shoots with a wide spectrum. At times it is a bit naughty, like when Harly has tied Nightwing to bed and the two end up hitting the sack after Harley spots Nightwings arousal after her wardrobe change, at times flat-out juvenile with fat jokes or just plain slapstick. This makes the movie a bit hit and miss, as far humour goes, as it feels like it is trying a bit too hard to provide everything to everyone, including some sexy fanservice.

The quality of animation leaves a lot of room for improvement as well.  It's more than evident that Batman and Harley Quinn is direct to DVD movie, but that doesn't really excuse that some scenes feel flat out lazy. Some scenes have a feeling that they either ran out of budget or just didn't have time to do more, some, like the two song numbers at the henchmen hideout, are just shameless padding.

Batman and Harley Quinn isn't the strongest entry in the DC animated movie series. That's not to say it's a bad movie as such and that there aren't good things about it. Far from it, but it did feel a bit uneven attempt that tried to do more, but didn't have enough resources to do them. The voice acting is good, the soundtrack is enjoyable as is the story itself. Some of the comedy hits the right mark and there are scenes that are great. But then there's the feel of a padded out narrative and clunky comedy, which just spoil what could have been so much better.

I mean, really, did we need a road trip with Harley Quinn letting out lethal farts?