|Batman and Harley Quinn|
|Directed by||Sam Liu|
|Screenplay by||Bruce Timm|
|Story by||Bruce Timm|
by Bill Finger and Bob Kane
by Paul Dini and Bruce Timm
Kevin Michael Richardson
|Edited by||Christopher D. Lozinski|
|Music by||Michael McCuistion|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Home Entertainment|
Batman and Harley Quinn is a 2017 American animated superhero film produced by Warner Bros. Animation and distributed by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. It is the 29th film of the DC Universe Animated Original Movies, and is directed by Sam Liu and written by Jim Krieg and Bruce Timm. It premiered on July 21, 2017 at San Diego Comic-Con and was released into participating theaters for one night only on August 14, 2017. The film was released on digital on August 15, 2017 and on DVD and Blu-ray on August 29.
Batman and Nightwing discover that Poison Ivy and the Floronic Man (Jason Woodrue) have teamed up, and that the criminals stole information (from S.T.A.R. Labs) about "Bio-Restorative Project" and Alec Holland who changed into Swamp Thing. Much to their reluctance, they decide to look for Harley Quinn (Ivy's best friend and the Joker's usual sidekick) to find out where the duo is hiding; however, Harley has gone off the grid since getting paroled. Batman leaves finding Harley to Nightwing, while Batman figures out what the criminal duo are up to.
At A.R.G.U.S. HQ, Batman asks Sarge Steel about the kidnapping of a scientist named Dr. Harold Goldblum (with a background in chemistry, botany, and biological warfare). Sarge says they don't have any viable leads on who did the kidnapping.
Nightwing finds Harley working as a waitress at Superbabes restaurant where waitresses are dressed as superheroes and supervillains. Tailing her, Nightwing asks where he can find Ivy, Harley says she's done with superheroes & supervillains and wants to live a normal life. Nightwing asks her why she is in skimpy outfits for minimum wage instead of using her psychiatric training. He angers her saying she hasn't reported to her parole officer in months, and that he could drag her to jail. They fight, until she knocks him out.
Sarge shows Batman the home of Goldblum (where Goldblum was kidnapped), and Batman finds evidence that Floronic Man had been there.
Nightwing wakes up and finds he's been tied to a bed. Harley shows him a pile of rejection letters, showing her past as a super-criminal prevents her from getting rehired as a psychiatrist. Eventually, the two sleep together.
Ivy is kissing Goldblum every 6 hours so she can use her mind-controlling pheromones to keep him under control. The criminal duo complain about negative environmental impacts of humans, and Floronic says once their virus is activated every person on the planet "will have a vested interest in going green".
Nightwing and Harley are tickling each other – until Batman walks in on them – with the result being that Harley decides to help. Batman has concluded the criminal duo are using Goldblum to replicate the process (that turned Holland into Swamp Thing), but a virus version that will turn everyone into animal-plant hybrids.
Harley leads them to a popular hangout for henchmen, where she gets the location of Ivy from one of her old minions named Shrubby as Min and Max do a cover of Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds' "Don't Pull Your Love". The trio head to Blüdhaven, where Ivy is saddened to see her friend helping Batman. Woodrue fatally wounds Dr. Goldblum to keep him quiet before he and Ivy escape as their lab catches fire. However, the dying Dr. Goldblum reveals that the duo is heading to Wainwright Swamp in Louisiana, where the correct swamp chemicals are.
Contacting A.R.G.U.S., Batman, Nightwing and Harley head after them to convince Ivy to stop her mad plans, realizing that even the slightest miscalculation could result in the extinction of all life on Earth. Harley resorts to crying to convince Ivy, who is finally swayed by their relationship. Swamp Thing appears, informing Woodrue that he would threaten the Green with his concoction. However, he will not interfere. Batman and Nightwing wonder how to stop Woodrue until Harley points out he is a plant and asks if they have a match. Grateful, they both give her a kiss on the cheek and Batman just sets Woodrue on fire.
In a post-credit scene, Harley has gone back to being Harleen Quinzel and she now has a reality television game show, where she makes contestants run an elaborate obstacle course to win a year of therapy from a professional, in a scathing indictment of the American insurance system.
The director is Sam Liu, who has directed prior DC animated films. The film is an original story written by Bruce Timm partnered with Jim Krieg. Kevin Conroy voices Batman and Loren Lester voices Nightwing, both of whom voiced those same roles in Batman: The Animated Series and in The New Batman Adventures. It is designed in the classic style similar to The New Batman Adventures, with Bruce Timm stating that the film is essentially a "48 Hrs."-style antics version of Batman and Harley Quinn teaming up. Notably, the film is much more comedic than the original series, with co-writer Jim Krieg stating "This is kind of a strange, red-headed nephew of Batman: The Animated Series, but don't show it to your kids thinking that it's Batman: The Animated Series, it is its own thing, kind of extrapolated."
When asked by fans if the film is a part of the DC Animated Universe, owing to its animation style and presence of Conroy and Lester as the voices of their characters in the franchise. Timm stated he believed "it was canon" and was always intended to be part of the Batman: The Animated Series universe although he was not sure whether it was technically so.
The score was composed by Michael McCuistion, Kristopher Carter and Lolita Ritmanis, which was released on CD by WaterTower Records as an exclusive with FYE.
The animation was outsourced to DR Movie in South Korea.
On July 31, a five-issue prequel miniseries called Harley Quinn and Batman was released on a bi-weekly basis via digital download. Written by Ty Templeton and drawn by Rick Burchett, the plot follows Harley as she looks to separate herself from the Joker and become a full-fledged supervillain in her own right. Afterwards, a seven-issue miniseries (which shares the same title as the film) was released on a weekly basis (also via digital download) starting on October 23. This serves as an anthology series that takes place after the events of the film and was worked on by various writers. Both miniseries were collected into a trade paperback which was released on March 7, 2019.
Due to the financial success of The Killing Joke, the film was released in theaters for one night only through Fathom Events in the United States on August 14, 2017. The next week, a combo set with a Blu-ray copy, a DVD copy, and a digital copy was released.
Batman and Harley Quinn's theatrical release grossed $32,671 in Australia and $6,420 in the Netherlands, bringing its international total to $39,091. The film earned $971,323 from domestic DVD sales and $1,182,647 from domestic Blu-ray sales, bringing its total domestic home video earnings to $2,153,970.
The film received mixed reviews from critics with some praise towards the voice performances of Conroy and Lester, and throwbacks to the DC Animated Universe, but criticizing the script, Rauch's performance as Harley Quinn and the more adult humor and risqué content which was never present in Batman: The Animated Series. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 50% based on 12 reviews, with an average rating of 5.8/10.
Collider criticized the film's inconsistent tone, as well as its lack of resolution. Tyler Smith of Battleship Pretension criticized the more explicit sexual elements, writing, "As Batman and Harley Quinn attempts to incorporate more explicit sexuality – what could be considered 'adult content' – into the story, the film takes on the tone of a couple of 13-year-olds constantly high-fiving each other as they take turns writing risqué Harley Quinn fan fiction. I'm not exactly sure what the filmmakers were trying to achieve by treating the audience to gratuitous upskirt shots of Harley, but it certainly wasn't an attempt to make her a more well-rounded character. In fact, it's actually pretty dehumanizing."
IGN's review of the film was more positive, citing the throwback elements, aesthetics and fight choreography, but commented that the film is "self-indulgent" in its humor and "unbalanced between comedy and drama".