The animated adventure Batman and Harley Quinn is the latest installment of the franchise known as DC Universe Original Movies. It is a direct-to-video release that has the distinct 1990s Dark Deco look of Batman: The Animated Series, and even brings back Kevin Conroy as Batman and Loren Lester as Nightwing from the original series. New to the movie and the DC Universe is The Big Bang Theory's Melissa Rauch, who provides the voice of Harley Quinn.
The trailer comes to us courtesy of Entertainment Weekly and it shows a very unlikely alliance between the Dark Knight, Nightwing and Quinn. Batman and Harley Quinn forms the alliance as Batman and Nightwing try to put a stop to Floronic Man and Poison Ivy's plan to destroy Gotham by turning people into plants, but to do so they need to enlist the help of Quinn. It looks as if DC is doing a parody of 1980s buddy cop movies in the style of a comic book movie, which is an interesting way to take the story. Is this the best way to put these characters together? We'll have to wait until later this year to see if the humor serves the story.
This will be DC's first foray into the world of animated comedy for Batman and for some it may be seen as a gamble, but it also looks in line to be a success with both adults and children. Batman and Harley Quinn follows last year's dark Batman: The Killing Joke, which gained mostly mixed and negative reviews from critics and fans due to the portrayal of Batgirl in the movie and the mixed up story. Critics and fans wondered why DC chose to sexualize Batgirl and obliviously turn her into a female comic book cliché. The art and animation also came under fire for not living up to the original graphic novel's art that was done by Brian Bolland, but what could even come close to that original artwork? The only real positives that came from the animated movie were the voice acting of Batman vet Kevin Conroy and of course Mark Hamill's Joker.
The backlash of The Killing Joke may very well be the inspiration to go in a completely opposite direction for Batman and Harley Quinn. In addition, Quinn is a very popular character these days thanks to Margot Robbie's portrayal of Quinn in DC's Suicide Squad and even from the critically acclaimed Batman video games from Rock Steady Entertainment. In the last installment of the video game series, The Arkham Knight, players are able to see the world through Harley Quinn's eyes for the first time and it adds depth to her character when thrown together with her persona from the comic books.
There is no official release date set for Batman and Harley Quinn, but expect it to debut sometime this summer. The movie is rated PG-13, but definitely looks tame in comparison to The Killing Joke and seems to be a welcome change of pace for fans of the original animated series. There has not been a mention of Mark Hamill, but don't be surprised if the Joker makes an appearance. Check out the trailer below.