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Spoiler Review: BATMAN AND HARLEY QUINN (2017)

A looming global catastrophe forces Batman and Nightwing to partner with an unlikely hero in Batman and Harley Quinn. Poison Ivy and Jason Woodrue (a.k.a. The Floronic Man) embark on an ecological quest to save the planet – and, unfortunately, eliminate most of humankind along the way.

To save humanity, Batman and Nightwing are forced to enlist Harley Quinn to catch Poison Ivy, Harley’s BFF and frequent partner-in-crime. But Batman’s patience is put to the test by the unpredictable and untrustworthy Harley during the twists and turns the reluctant companions face during their bumpy road trip. The result is a thrill ride of action, adventure and comedy no Batman fan has seen before. [Warner Bros.]

[Warning: This Review Consists of SPOILERS From Batman and Harley Quinn.]
The latest installment of DC’s original animated movies is Batman and Harley Quinn, a new original story by Bruce Timm. The film, which may or may not be in continuity with Batman: The Animated Series, promises a more comedic superhero story. It also comes as Harley Quinn’s popularity is at an all-time high, thanks to the comics and the Suicide Squad movie. 
So, does Batman and Harley Quinn do justice to the two titular characters? Short answer: No. Long answer: Strap yourselves in…
To begin this review, I will name the three things I did like about this movie. First, Kevin Conroy is such a perfect Batman. His voice flawlessly matches the character in everything, whether it’s in a movie, on television, or in a video game. Second, the opening credits sequence is actually pretty cool. The animation is fun, goofy, and creative. And lastly, I always enjoy seeing the classic Bruce Timm animation style and character designs. It does a decent job matching the style of The Animated Series in this regard.
As for the rest of the movie, though? Batman and Harley Quinn is an awful, cringe-worthy, nausea-inducing film. Its attempts at humor are atrocious, its portrayal of women is alarming, and its story is generic trash. 
With the exceptions of Conroy and Loren Lester (Nightwing), the voice cast doesn’t elevate the film above its many flaws. Melissa Rauch is miscast as Harley Quinn; her voice acting just doesn’t fit this portrayal of the character. It doesn’t help that the character’s writing is so terrible. Harley has always been an over-the-top character, but this movie takes it to high levels of annoyance. And it only gets worse as the movie goes on. Meanwhile, Paget Brewster and Kevin Michael Richardson are both pretty good as Poison Ivy and Floronic Man, respectively.
The most problematic part of Batman and Harley Quinn is how it portrays its female characters. There is one scene in the movie that shows men in some nightclub staring at scantily clad women wearing various superhero costumes, like Supergirl and Batgirl. And that’s it; women are just there as the objects of lust for these perverted men. Pretty disgusting. Harley herself doesn’t fare much better. In fact, it’s implied that she rapes Nightwing during one scene. Considering Harley’s history of abuse at the hands of Joker, it’s shocking to see her go this far – AND the film plays it off as comedy. I’m aware of Bruce Timm’s more…questionable drawings, but it’s sad to see him bring this type of sexuality into his DC work.
As mentioned earlier, Batman and Harley Quinn was intended to be a more comedic DC title. It would’ve been successful if it was actually funny. Whether it’s a fart joke or an obnoxiously long musical number, the “humor” in this film is more annoying than funny. It just further damaged an already heavily flawed story. The plot was as generic as can be: Poison Ivy and Floronic Man want to destroy “save” the world for….reasons, and it’s up to Batman, Nightwing, and Harley to stop them. That’s it.
I’ll be the first to admit that I had low expectations for Batman and Harley Quinn. The trailers never did anything for me. But I kept my fingers crossed that it would surpass my expectations and I would love. Sadly, it’s even worse than I could have predicted.
In conclusion, skip Batman and Harley Quinn. Enough said.

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of WOBAM! Entertainment.

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