Smells like discipline – Batman and Harley Quinn (2017)

The animated universe of DC could use a bit of high-quality offerings. “Batman and Harley Quinn” is almost one of such.

From nostalgia-hits-hard like “Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders”, through extremely innovative narrative-and-visual-wise as “Batman: Gotham Knight”, to unexpectedly comedy-filled – almost every year guarantees something new from DC. Nonetheless, they are still trying to figure out which way to go – full-dark, semi-dark, or not-dark-at-all. “Batman and Harley Quinn”, unfortunately, goes neither way.

As Gotham’s villains always remain relentless in their efforts to realize another diabolical scheme, this time two of them – Poison Ivy and the Floronic Man – plan to turn the entire planet into plants, stopping the ravaging of the Mother Earth. Batman, accompanied by his padawan Nightwing, joins forces with Joker’s former super-lover (that sounds bad, doesn’t it?) – the infamous Harley Quinn – to stop the insane plan.

Batman and Harley Quinn

The very first scene of the film captures the unbelievable contrast present in the entire film – the Floronic Man brutally smashes some guards, blood splashes when his plant spikes cut through one of them. Afterwards, when Batman visits the site, Nightwing finds an article about a captured scientist – the article is entirely filled with painfully obvious “lorem ipsum” – a bad joke from the fellow designer crew.

Violence meets corny comedy as if we were watching a wannabee Tarantino animated film – kind of like modern Robert Rodriguez. At times, this switch works out. Harley Quinn, an effect of heavy marketing that kicked off with “Suicide Squad”, is a bit off for some parts, but she manages to deliver the humor needed in DC universe. Put in line with deadly serious Batman, she is a loony character – even if she reminds more of a spoiled teenager than a terrifying sociopath. I know, it’s an animated, so what am I expecting, huh?

Harley Quinn is, however, the only notable aspect of “Batman and Harley Quinn”. The other villains – although I have to admit that Floronic Man debuts on screen with a stomp – are quite laughable. Let’s be honest, we must have reached a turning point in cinema, if villains in a Batman film are means to manifest greenpeace slogans. Floronic Man’s ambition to either turn the Earth green seems far-fetched, whilst Poison Ivy definitely has troubles understanding “what the hell have I gotten into?”. It is more possible that the viewer will remember Nightwing lasting 20 minutes with Harley Quinn (oh those unfortunate innuendos that begun with “The Killing Joke”…), rather than Poison Ivy and Floronic Man’s idea to kill seven billion people. Or turn them into grass – either sounds genuinely bad.

Batman and Harley Quinn

Animated films from DC are springing up, a plethora of styles was brought to the table, yet it is hard to name one that was truly as memorable as an all-time classic “Batman: Mask of the Phantasm” from 1993. The newest addition to the family – “Batman and Harley Quinn” – seeks for the same balance as the many films before. Although the writing got a bit more consistent, some comedy bits are even funny, the question remains – did we really have to hear Harley Quinn farting, with Batman commenting “smells like discipline”?

Batman-and-Harley-Quinn-post-3Batman and Harley Quinn (2017)

Dir. Sam Liu

Cast: Kevin Conroy, Melissa Rauch

Hate Grade: 5.5/10

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