Cowabunga dudes! Batman Vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a bodaciously fun and action-packed adventure. Loosely based on the 2015 crossover comic series by James Tynion IV, Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is stylistically different than previous DC films. It expertly uses slow motion to add sizzle to the awesome fight scenes. Coupled with a clever, often hilarious script, this installment ranks as one of the best. It is a must see for every comic genre and animation fan.
Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles opens in Gotham City. Batgirl (Rachel Bloom) defends a laboratory from a deadly ninja attack. She gets help from mysterious reptile men that disappear in a cloud of smoke. Batman (Rachel Bloom) is concerned about the pattern of scientific installations being robbed. He sets up a trap and is stunned by the skills of his blade-wearing, metal-helmeted adversary. Shredder (Andrew Kishino) is unlike anyone Batman has fought before. The leader of the Foot Clan isn't fazed by Batman's theatrics or technology.
Hot on Shredder's trail, Michelangelo (Kyle Mooney) and his heroes in a half shell brothers are also investigating the equipment thefts. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are totally stoked by Gotham City's weirdness. They are genuinely entertained by the costumed baddies and blimps that hover around for no reason at all. Their chuckles turn to a beatdown and bruises after their first encounter with the Dark Knight. Meanwhile, Robin (Ben Giroux) discovers the other dastardly player in the evil plot. Ra's al Ghul (Cas Anvar) and his League of Assassins are working with the Shredder. They have monstrous plans for Gotham City, which includes Batman's rogues gallery of villains in Arkham Asylum.
Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has no dull moments. It's a film that fires on all cylinders. The plot by screenwriter Marly Halpern-Graser incorporates the characters well-known nuances into an interesting storyline. These are heroes and villains with a lot of history. Different personalities come into play as every side figures out where they stand in the conflict. I loved the Turtles geeky fanboy fascination with Batman. Donatello (Baron Vaughn) is dumbstruck by the cutting edge tech in the Batcave. Raphael (Darren Criss) can't help but be competitive with the boy wonder. Leonardo (Eric Bauza) finds a new mentor to hone his skills. Conversely, Batman can't help but be impressed by Leonardo's aptitude. Then you have the fantastic comic relief. Michelangelo is the proverbial kid in the candy store. Everything Batman just blows his giddy mind, much to Alfred's (Brian George) consternation.
Director Jake Castorena worked as a storyboard artist on multiple DC series for years with Warner Bros. Animation. Last year he co-helmed The Death of Superman with veteran director Sam Liu. His experience has certainly paid off. Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has some of the slickest action I've seen in an animated film. The first duel between Batman and Shredder will kick your ass and break a foot doing it. Then there's the almost Matrix-esque use of slow motion. Castorena slows down the action for emphasis at the perfect moments. It's masterfully done and ramps up the adrenaline. Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is loaded with incredible action scenes. Jake Castorena does a helluva job here.
It's obvious from my hyperbolic gushing that I loved this film. Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a pure joyride. It's not too thematically dark or childish. It's violent, but not overly bloody or cartoonish. There's no sappy drama or sexual innuendo. The film is really the perfect combination of Batman and the Turtles. Warner Bros. Animation and Nickelodeon deliver the most entertaining animated film of the year to date. Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is available now digitally with a DVD release on June 4th.