I was excited about this film. The Bruce Timm style animation of the film similar to the classic Batman: The Animated Series and the return of the great Kevin Conroy made this animated special Fathom showing something that I especially wanted to see.
I turned out to be disappointed with this one.
The film started out with an opening credits scene that was really campy and I immediately paused. I had not expected the tone that this movie was taking, but I was ready to give it a chance. I like the humor and there are some very funny moments in the movie as well. The juxtaposing of the wild and campy Harley Quinn (Melissa Rauch) with the stoic and hard-nosed Batman really works at times.
You knew this was going to be a different movie when Harley Quinn and Nightwing have sex. Yes, that is what I said.
Poison Ivy (Paget Brewster) and The Floronic Man (Kevin Michael Richardson) have a master plan to turn everyone in the world into a plant-like creature using the formula created by Dr. Alec Holland (who becomes the Swamp Thing in DC Comics). Batman and Nightwing are trying to prevent this and recruit Ivy’s B.F.F. Harley Quinn, who has been released from Arkham and has gone straight.
Batman does not trust Harley, but goes along despite his better instincts.
I was into the tone for a good portion of the film. It was very unexpected because the tone of the Batman: The Animated Series was usually very serious and, even when something humorous happened, the serious tone was maintained. Still, I remembered the episode when Harley and Ivy initially got together and it was pretty funny. I like the laughs and the campy feel worked for part of the movie. There is a scene at a henchman nightclub that is a hoot. We also see Harley Quinn singing. There is also a very strong scene after a building gets burned down. You get to see the Harley Quinn humanity during this scene and it gives you a different look at the character.
And then the film goes off the rails hard.
The third act of this movie is just tremendously terrible. It took what was going to be a surprising and unexpected tonal film that I liked into a film that just does not work. Moment after moment in this final set pushed believability to the breaking point. This film has the final confrontation between Harley and Ivy that is so disappointing and cheesy, the arrival of a deus ex machina that actually turns out to be a complete waste of time, and an anticlimactic resolution that is downright stupid.
Batman and Harley Quinn was working for me for the first part of the film, as the campy factor was not too out of line, there were some legit funny moments, Harley Quinn was fun and it felt like they were building to a more serious conclusion after the dramatic scene with Harley after the fire, but the film completely spiraled into ridiculousness and lost me in the third act. As good as it was to hear Kevin Conroy back as the voice of Batman (and Melissa Rauch of the Big Bang Theory was a solid Harley Quinn), the entire package just was not worth the build. I left the theater feeling that this would have been better had it been Batman ’66 and we could just make the whole movie a joke.