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SDCC 2017: World Premiere of Batman and Harley Quinn

Comic-Con 2017Warner Brothers Animation brought the entirety of the new Batman animated film Batman and Harley Quinn to show in Ballroom 20 at San Diego Comic Con this year. This event included Q&A with a panel of voice actors returning from “Batman: The Animated Series” Kevin Conroy and Loren Lester, new voices, for this production, Paget Brewster (“Criminal Minds”) and Kevin Michael Richardson (Literally a man of hundreds of voice acting credits), as well as writers Bruce Timm (“Batman: The Animated Series”) and Jim Krieg (Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox), and Director Sam Liu (“Green Lantern: The Animated Series”). The film feels perfectly like a continuation of the Batman animated TV series with a little bit more PG-13 added in. A great addition to the DC animated oeuvre by any count and likely to be a must own for fans of the animated series when it releases in August.

The Panel: Jim Krieg, Sam Liu, Bruce Timm, Kevin Michael Richardson, Paget Brewster, Kevin Conroy, Loren Lester, and moderator Gary Miereanu

The story finds Batman and Nightwing on the hunt for Poison Ivy (Brewster) and Floronic Man (Richardson) after a break in at a secure science facility. With very little to go on for Ivy’s location, the duo turn to the nearly-fully-rehabilitated Harley Quinn, who Nightwing finds out is working at a Superheroine-themed restaurant. After some convincing, Harley teams up with the caped crusader and the former boy wonder to help put a stop to Ivy’s plan. The insecure nature of Harley’s mental state plus the seriousness of the mission put Batman a bit on edge as he knows he needs to trust an untrustworthy element to get the job done. Can this odd trio get to Poison Ivy and Floronic Man in time? Will Harley’s volatile nature be a boon or a curse? Find out in theaters, on 4K UHD and on Blu-ray August!

The feature is a wonderful treat for “Batman: The Animated Series” fans. It has that great sparse environment, swelling music, and physical comedy at which the series excelled back in the ’90s. The best Batman in the business, Kevin Conroy is forced into the role of straight man to Harley Quinn’s (played quite well by “Big Bang Theory” regular Melissa Rauch) nutty bonkersness. Their pairing makes it funny to the point of being a full-on action comedy, with some true deep belly laughs. The animation, while resembling the style of the original animated series, is smooth and crisp. And the script is tight and brimming with cool references, musical numbers, jokes, some toilet humor, and some pretty mature moments as well. It is a very enjoyable film to watch.

 

One of the things that works so well for this film is that by returning to the more serious nature of the animated series version of Batman, writers Timm and Krieg allowed comedy to spring out naturally from the contrast of the characters. Nightwing has always been a bit more irreverent and free spirited than Batman, especially in his days as Robin, but in Batman and Harley Quinn it is clear that he is somewhat seduced by Harley’s penchant for the insane and it entices his more reckless and joking side to ease out of him. While not fully committing to being a comedian per se, even Batman gets a joke in here and there which brings the mood of the entire film up to a level drastically different than the animated series. It is a tremendous achievement, the mixing of jokes with some deadpan and physical comedy, and it works greatly to this film’s advantage to keep it a unique and lovable entry in the animated Batman universe.

When it releases next month, whether you see it at the Fathom Events screening in theaters, get it digitally, or get the blu-ray, check out Batman and Harley Quinn. I doubt it will disappoint!

Be Sure To Check Out All Of Our San Diego 2017 Comic-Con Coverage!

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