8 Things Batman And Harley Quinn Did Better Than Other Batman Movies
Batman and Harley Quinn didn’t get great reviews but there are a lot of things it does very well.
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Batman and Harley Quinn came out on DVD in 2017 and it is not connected to the other DC animated film. Instead, it is a “spiritual successor” to Batman: The Animated Series. Written by Jim Krieg and Bruce Timm and directed by Sam Liu (Batman: The Killing Joke), Batman and Harley Quinn brought back Kevin Conroy to voice Batman once again and created something very different.
The movie has Batman and Nightwing trying to stop a villainous plan devised by Jason Woodrue and Poison Ivy. To find the bad guys, they seek out Harley Quinn for her help and reluctantly end up teaming with her to save the day. Here is a look at what Batman and Harley Quinn does better than other Batman movies.
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8 HARLEY QUINN
The version of Harley Quinn in this Batman movie is a refreshing change. She is not with Joker at all anymore, although she does mention him once when she uses Joker-gas on Nightwing. She is also independent, although she is struggling to make it in the straight world.
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However, what makes Harley Quinn so great here is that she is a perfect example of what a villain might go through when trying to go straight. She wants to be good and wants nothing to do with the world of heroes and villains anymore, but no one will give her a break. Even Batman and Nightwing have little respect for her despite her doing her time and trying to move on.
7 BATMAN/HARLEY QUINN DYNAMIC
The entire dynamic between Batman and Harley Quinn is great in this movie. Batman wants nothing more than to solve the latest crime and he doesn’t care who he has to use to get that done. Harley Quinn just wants to be left alone to try to make it through life without the costumed crowd dragging her along.
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It is very interesting because Batman is a total jerk and seems to have no use for rehabilitation or letting a former criminal move on with their life. Yes, the most important thing is to solve the crime, but he is such a jerk to Harley that you can’t help but feel for her — and that is important because this is her story.
Nightwing here is used to great effect. He is sent by Batman to get information from Harley Quinn and he really shows a lot of his mentor’s penchant to refuse to listen to what anyone is saying. Harley Quinn wants to be left alone and Nightwing doesn’t care or believe that she really wants to go the straight and narrow.
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However, Nightwing comes to recognize that Harley Quinn isn’t really a bad guy on the inside — just a little insane. It is a nice contrast to Batman’s stoic attitude and is a nice bridge between Harley and Batman for the viewer.
5 KITSCH VALUE
There is one area where Batman and Harley Quinn is a bit of a culture shock — especially for people watching the most recent DC animated movies. This movie is completely kitsch. There are random song and dance numbers, including one where Batman and Nightwing are involved in a bar fight while Harley sings.
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The moment that Harley Quinn captures Nightwing and the two start to make out proves this is not a kids movie. When the movie ends, there is not so much a giant hero-winning battle but just a goofy final scene to show how they won. This movie is strange but has its charms.
4 THE HUMOR
With the kitsch comes the humor. While there are moments like the Harley Quinn and Nightwing scene, with the former Boy Wonder tied to her bed, it is offset by a hilarious scene of Batman walking in and Nightwing claiming that he can’t judge because of his past with female supervillains.
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For a movie with adult moments, like the aforementioned Nightwing scene, there are also some moments that are meant for the most juvenile humor, such as Harley Quinn asking to go to the bathroom, being refused, and delivering her own gas in the Batmobile. The movie is never afraid to stop for some humor — including a solid burn at the expense of Booster Gold.
3 THE MUSIC
The music in Batman and Harley Quinn is really good. Thanks to the kitsch value, there are some song and dance numbers and they fit the theme perfectly. The two biggest songs in the movie are “Don’t Pull Your Love” by Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds and “Hanging on the Telephone” by Blondie.
The first song was performed by Rob Paulsen, who is best known for voicing Raphael and Donatello from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Pinky from the Pinky and the Brain cartoons. The second was a standout performance with Melissa Rauch singing as Harley Quinn.
2 JASON WOODRUE
It isn’t hard to come up with a better version of Jason Woodrue than fans have previously seen in Batman movies. Known in the comic books as the Floronic Man, Woodrue was first seen in the 1997 film Batman & Robin. With the huge appearances of Mr. Freeze and Poison Ivy, it might make him forgettable, though. Woodrue was played by John Glover and was who was responsible for turning Pamela Isley into Poison Ivy before she killed him in revenge.
It is interesting to see Floronic Man and Poison Ivy teaming up here, considering their relationship in Batman & Robin, but considering how much critics and fans hated that movie, pretending it never happened in Batman and Harley Quinn is probably a very good thing.
1 SWAMP THING
Swamp Thing is a DC icon. He had two movies (the first directed by Wes Craven) and will get a show on the DC Universe streaming service as well. He also isn’t new to the world of DC animated movies, as he appeared in Justice League Dark the same year that he appeared in Batman and Harley Quinn.
In Justice League Dark, he was treated harshly and destroyed by Destiny, something that seems surprising for fans who know how powerful Swamp Thing is. However, in Batman and Harley Quinn, it was more like fans expected when he showed up, dressed down Floronic Man but then said he didn’t care about their battle because it didn’t affect the Green, and then left.
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Shawn S. Lealos is a senior writer on ScreenRant who fell in love with movies in 1989 after going to the theater to see Tim Burton’s Batman as his first big screen experience. Shawn received his Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma with a minor in Film Studies. He has worked as a journalist for over 25 years, first in the world of print journalism before moving to online media as the world changed. Shawn is a former member of the Society of Professional Journalists and current member of the Oklahoma Film Critics Circle. He has work published in newspapers such as Daily Oklahoman and Oklahoma Gazette and magazines such as Vox Magazine, Loud Magazine, and Inside Sports Magazine. His work on the Internet has been featured on websites like The Huffington Post, Yahoo Movies, Chud, Renegade Cinema, 411mania, and Sporting News. Shawn is also a published author, with a non-fiction book about the Stephen King Dollar Baby Filmmakers and has begun work on a new fiction series as well. Visit Shawn Lealos’ website to learn more about his novel writing and follow him on Twitter @sslealos.
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