Have you ever had one of the moments that really illustrates that you are getting older? For me it’s been these little celebrations of some of pop culture’s best series. Specifically with the 25th Anniversary of Batman the Animated Series. Like most of my generation, Batman was a staple for me, and what really made Batman the Animated series stand out was its attention to story. Sadly though, we may have to wait a little longer for the the full series to get its much deserved HD Remaster. Luckily the latest animated film from DC Animation is out: DCU Batman and Harley Quinn.
While the artwork is clearly based on the animated series, but did you notice that the title doesn’t reflect the original naming convention? For any Geek Parents out there that should be a decent warning. This movie is soooo not for kids. What you are about to experience is a journey into a very sexualized version of Batman the Animated Series.
This story plot is pretty basic, essentially Poison Ivy has teamed up with Floroinic Man (Jason Woodrue) and they’ve broken into Star Labs to steal a secret dossier written by Dr. Alec Holland (Swamp Thing). Which of course they plan to use to turn everyone into Swamp Things. Luckily Batman and Nightwing are on the case. Not knowing the whereabouts of Poison Ivy they turn to their ol pal Harley Quinn to help talk some sense into her BFF.
I’ve seen almost all of the DC Animated movies, but there has been a recent trend that I’ve started to notice. I’m not sure when it started, but the Killing Joke certainly highlighted it. I know the goal is to make these films a little more grown up, which honestly most of the material these films are based on has that base covered. But it seems like they are more interested in sexualizing characters – in ways that almost seems out of character.
I just finished watching Teen Titans: Judas Contract, and there were a couple of relationships they highlighted. Starfire and Nightwing – that made sense, it’s cannon and they handled it decently. Then there was Beast Boy and Terra – also cannon and very well handled. Then there the curve ball… Terra and Deathstroke??? WTF??? It was soooo creepy.
It reminded me of one of the more off-putting scenes in Killing Joke, Batman and Batgirl hooking up… It was unnecessary for the story and very out of character. Not to mention the way they wrote Barbara Gordon before and after the event.
Applying it to this Film
Can you guess who the main lead is in this flick? If you guess Harley Quinn you are right!! Now before we digest this flick, let’s talk about the character of Harley Quinn in this movie. As I stated before, the art style is totally Animated Series, but character-wise Harley is a cross between Suicide Squad Harley and Animated Series Harley, but closer to Suicide Squad version.
The film lets you know early on the sexualized tone it’s taking with the animated series, as one of the first scenes takes place in a Super Heroine version of Hooters. Before you get to see your main character you are subjected to a variety of skimpy outfits based on our fav Super Heroines. We then proceed to get a shot of Harley’s rear end – the first of many. This opening scene essentially sets the tone for the rest of the movie.
The worst it gets is after Harley captures Nightwing. NW wakes up tied to the bed – Harley is in her underwear and trying to find which costume she should wear. She proceeds to bend over. Yeah, while Nightwing was a gentlemen and averted his eyes, the camera certainly didn’t move. What’s worse is the dialogue that follows – letting the viewer know that Nightwing has had a reaction to the view. Which then turns into Harley Quinn having some fun time with Nightwing – at least she asks for his consent… While Batman’s reaction to this was amusing, it still felt out of place, out of character, and completely unnecessary.
One of the other moments that also seemed a bit strange was the Fart scene. Essentially Harley asks Batman to pull over the Batmobile – he says no. So she decides to rip one in the car. Nightwing constantly reacts while Batman keeps a stern face. She then proceeds to do it again, prompting Nightwing to plead Batman to pull the car over.
The final scene was the karaoke scene. But instead of describing I’ve linked the video below:
This was a tough movie to watch at times. While I had plenty of nostalgia watching this, there were too many out-of-character moments that really removed me from the film. What’s really sad is there could’ve been a decent movie. There was even a moment where it seemed they might be making a Mystery for the crew to solve. Sadly though it turned into a complete joke fest – very reminiscent of all the Marvel blockbuster movies… So many jokes.
Not the worst I’ve seen from DC Animated – but I really hope the trend of over sexualized content ends. There is a time and place for that certainly, but not at the expense of the story. Essentially it needs to add something to the story. There are probably plenty of fans that will enjoy this movie, just know what you are getting into. It’s fun at times – it’s just not the Animated Series. Though let’s be honest, they make it pretty clear early on what they were aiming for.