DC's animated feature Batman and Harley Quinn, an adventure starring two of the comic book company's most popular characters, made its one-night appearance in theaters on August 14.
The film, which can best be described as a superhero buddy cop outing, follows the unlikely team-up between Batman and Harley Quinn as they try and stop Poison Ivy and the Floronic Man's nefarious plot to make the world a more eco-friendly place. In short, the movie is basically a longer version of the classic Batman: The Animated Series episode 'Harlequinade,' where Harley helps Batman and Robin foil the Joker's effort to blow up Gotham City.
Even though the animated feature's plot and pacing are a bit messy and all over the place, Batman and Harley Quinn is still a fun little action romp that shines in its portrayal of the Harley Quinn character. Here's how she was wonderfully characterized in the movie:
1. She Plays Second Fiddle To No One
In most of Harley's animated appearances, she is usually working as a henchman for the Joker or as a partner that plays more of a sidekick role with Poison Ivy; however, in Batman and Harley Quinn, this certainly isn't the case. In fact, the Joker, whom she is typically subservient to, surprisingly makes no appearance in the movie and is only mentioned once in a passing reference.
Throughout the film, we see her calling her own shots and refusing to abide by the rules of others, including the Dark Knight himself. Whether trying to lead a more normal life as a waitress on her own or stopping Poison Ivy without much help from Batman and Nightwing, Harley's newfound independence and unexpected competency is put on full display.
2. She's Actually Pretty Funny
As many already know, since her debut in Batman: The Animated Series, Harley Quinn has always been meant to be a character that provides comic relief. Sadly, many of the latest iterations of the character have tried to do this, but lacked the certain comedic charm the character had in the DC Animated Universe that made her humor work so well.
In Batman and Harley Quinn, rather than relying on her insanity as merely a means of comedy similar to films like Suicide Squad and Batman: Assault On Arkham, we see a return to the smart, witty remarks and one-liners that hark back to the original Harley Quinn we all know and love. Instead of being portrayed as the ditzy airhead that many of her more recent make her out to be, Miss Quinn's snarky and clever banter with characters such as Nightwing and Poison Ivy make for some pretty hilarious moments that will have viewers laughing out loud.
3. She And Poison Ivy Are Best Frenemies
Contrary to popular belief, while Harley and Ivy are good friends, they do not in any way see eye to eye on everything. This film does a very good job of showing us what happens when they find themselves going up against each other.
Harley, the good friend that she is, initially just wants to talk to Ivy and convince her to stop her crazy plans to make the world go green, but she does not hesitate to trade blows with her when diplomacy doesn't work. Their fight is full of punches and kicks, political banter, plant monsters, and the blowing up of said plant monsters, but they immediately reconcile once the chaos is over, showing us that they do care about each other and will always remain friends no matter the conflict.
4. She May Be Reformed, But She's Still Her Crazy Old Self
When we first see Harley in the film, she is trying to live a normal life by working as a waitress at a Hooters-esque restaurant, but even though she's "reformed," she's still far from being on the side of good. When Nightwing finds her, she's more than happy to go toe to toe with him, take him down and hold him hostage in her apartment.
Throughout the film, the ridiculous antics and tomfoolery that she gets into just scream classic Harley. She halts the search for Ivy and the Floronic Man to chase a guy who screwed her over 10 years ago though the heavy traffic of Gotham City, drives Batman and Nightwing nuts and even performs a musical number in a nightclub filled with second class criminals like she does in BTAS episode 'Harlequinade.'
Check out her lively performance here:
Batman and Harley Quinn may not be the best animated feature that DC and Warner Bros. have produced, but it does offer us a splendid iteration of Harley Quinn that stays true to the character's roots in the DC Animated Universe. It's refreshing to see Harley not relying on other characters to get the job done and returning to her clever, quick-witted sense of humor, plus fans get the treat of seeing their favorite psychiatrist turned criminal rock her original jester costume.
The film, which stars Kevin Conroy, Melissa Rauch and Loren Lester, is now available digitally and will come out on DVD and Blu-ray on August 29.
Do you think Batman and Harley Quinn did justice to the Harley Quinn character? Share your thoughts in the comments below!