Batman, Batgirl and Robin forge an alliance with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to fight against the Turtles' sworn enemy, The Shredder, who has apparently teamed up with Ra's Al Ghul and The League of Assassins.
Starring: Troy Baker
, Eric Bauza
, Darren Criss
, Kyle Mooney
, Baron Vaughn
, Rachel Bloom
, Ben Giroux
, Brian George
, Jim Meskimen
, Tom Kenny
, John DiMaggio
, Tara Strong
, Carlos Alazraqui
, Cas Anvar
, Keith Ferguson
, Andrew Kishino
As a kid, I remember imagining crossovers between heroes from my favorite cartoons. While I am not sure Batman and Ninja Turtles are ones I ever mixed together, I am happy to see the combination as an adult. For starters, this film really mixed the two series together well. It had the dark broodiness of Gotham and Batman while at the same time maintaining the more light-hearted and comedic tone of the Turtles. Some scenes are Batman being classic, serious Batman. Others are the Turtles goofing off, like when they openly question why Gotham and New York are so similar.
For the villains, we have Shredder mixed with Ras Al Ghul. The Foot Clan allied with the League of Assassins. Ras was his usual self, but in this film, Shredder was more impressive. Thankfully, this is a serious Shredder along the lines of the 2012 Turtles show instead of his goofy 80’s counterpart. This is a Shredder who can take all four Turtles in a fight. And face off against Batman to a standstill. As fun as goofy 80’s Shredder was for his time, the character comes off better as a true villain. Especially in a more serious setting like Gotham.
Plot-wise, this movie is very simple. Apparently, this is based on a comic where a lot more happens. But for an 84-minute animated film, it does a good job. It is a classic tale of heroes stopping the baddies, which is really all you need here. This could have just as easily been a multi-part crossover episode between two different TV shows. And given that the target audience is children, it works. For a crossover like this, the focus is more the characters than anything else. There is never really any doubt that the heroes will save the day here. What we really want to see are the Batman family and Turtles onscreen together.
On the whole, this movie is just fun. If you like Batman and the Turtles (or even just one), it is worth it. If you like Batman and want to hear Troy Baker say the word “cowabunga”, it is extra worth it. For being a fun crossover and not a DC exclusive film, the animation was great too. It had a classic feel but still had a touch of modern animation techniques as well. While it is not a masterpiece of cinematography, there is nothing really “wrong” with this film. It is just a fun childhood dream come true.
The madness begins.
20161 h 12 min
As Batman hunts for the escaped Joker, the Clown Prince of Crime attacks the Gordon family to prove a diabolical point mirroring his own fall into madness. Based on the graphic novel by Alan Moore and Brian Bolland.
Warning: This review WILL contain spoilers about The Killing Joke. Yes, the movie is new but if you have not picked the book up in the last 28 years that is kind of on you.
The Killing Joke graphic novel was one of the most influential works in comic book history. Author Alan Moore created his own version of the Joker’s origin and the psychology behind The Clown Prince of Crime’s madness. Largely considered to be one of the most definitive stories in DC Comics, what was original supposed to be a one-shot non-canon story laid the groundwork for what became widely accepted as the Joker’s origin story. Furthermore, it provided a set-up for the future of the character Barbara Gordon and provided readers with a concrete in-universe analysis of the Joker and Batman’s relationship.
Skip forward almost three decades after the graphic novel was originally produced and now we have a film to go with it. Nothing from the book was left out; in fact, quite a bit was added into the film version. Normally adding a bunch of stuff in when taking a book to the big screen is a bad idea. But for this story, it was necessary for two reasons. First of all, The Killing Joke is a short book. Just taking it panel and panel and turning that into film form would probably have not been enough to give audiences a full-length film. Secondly, audiences who are unfamiliar with this story needed what was added into the story as a prologue.
Before The Killing Joke truly starts, the film version opens up with a story about Barbara’s last adventure as Batgirl before hanging up her cape and mantle for a civilian life. Making this movie, the creators needed to do something like this. In the Killing Joke itself, the only time Barbara appears is when she is shot. If audiences do not know anything about her and do not have a reason to care, her paralysis will not have the emotional affect it is meant to convey. The issue was how they choose to handle it. This segment shows Barbara displaying feelings for Batman and she kind of has sex with him under some gargoyle statues on a rooftop (lucky gargoyles…). People who are familiar with the comics know that this is pretty out of character. She dated Dick Grayson, the first Robin, and the other members of Batman’s team are generally portrayed as looking up to him as a father figure. Having her suddenly lusting after him was just not the way to go. While they did need something at the beginning of the movie, it was not this.
Ok, into The Killing Joke itself. Everything from the graphic novel is in here and then some. A few scenes were expanded in order to lengthen the film, such as Batman searching for the Joker after discovering his latest escape from Arkham Asylum. The film is just as dark and gritty as the comic; the Joker torments Commissioner Gordon by injuring, paralyzing, and sexually abusing his daughter. He does this all to prove a point: that anyone can be driven as mad as him under the right circumstances. But at the same time, seeing the Joker’s origin story and how he became insane makes him kind of a sympathetic character in this story. At both the beginning and the end, Batman attempts to convince the Joker to let him help. To get rehabilitated. And both of these scenes, particularly the final scene of the film, is made all the more powerful by having Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill reprise their iconic voice acting roles as Batman and the Joker. While this film adaptation is not everything it could have been, it is still an excellent watch for any comic book fan.