Film Review: BATMAN VS. TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES

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SYNOPSIS: BATMAN VS. TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES finds Gotham City reaching new levels of danger when Shredder joins forces with Ra’s al Ghul to enact a nefarious plan – leading to the team-up of the Dark Knight and the Turtles to combat the combined might of the Foot Clan and League of Assassins!

For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved Batman.

However, there may be one thing I became fascinated with earlier in life, and that’s the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Now, we finally have a collision of these two pop culture powerhouses in animated form.

Based loosely (and mostly) on the comic miniseries by James Tynion and Freddie Williams, this movie takes us to Gotham, where The Dark Knight is investigating these ninjas that keep stealing high tech equipment around the city.

The thing is, four mysterious metahumans are also on the hunt for the ninjas.

Heads collide, fighting ensues, and then everyone comes together to hunt down the real villains of the story.

If you’ve read the comic, then you basically know how everything goes down…for the most part.

RELATED: BOF’s Coverage of BATMAN VS. TMNT

Shredder plays a major role. So does Ra’s al Ghul. And so do Batman’s rogues. It’s every bit as fun as the original story, but with some variations.  Most notably are the absences of characters, as well as some additions. For example, Splinter briefly appears, and Batgirl plays a pretty big role. Some lines are picked up right from the comic, while many others are original. It’s a great blend of “inspired by” but not a direct adaptation. While I could instantly notice what was lifted from the page, there were enough differences to keep this movie unpredictable throughout.

 

I don’t know about you, but casting meant everything to me here.

The Turtles have been around for 35 years, so these characters have been established for a long time. That only puts more pressure on nailing their voices…which they did. My only hesitation was with Michelangelo, which sometimes felt off (more on that later).

We also have many new, and returning, voices on the Batman side. Let’s start there first: Troy Baker pulls double duty, working as The Dark Knight himself and The Joker. John DiMaggio briefly voices Mr. Freeze but is known for dabbling in both Batman and TMNT worlds.

Fans of THE BATMAN animated series will quickly pick up on the voice of The Penguin — Tom Kenny (AKA Spongebob Squarepants).  Brian George reprises his role as Alfred (he was also in THE KILLING JOKE).

Also a quick shoutout for the incomparable Tara Strong, who too pulls double duty as Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy.

Among the many newcomers were Rachel Bloom as Batgirl and Ben Giroux as Robin.

And finally, the voice of Damian that didn’t annoy me to death (though I know this time was the first it was an adult).

The movie, which ran a little longer than most of these DC animated films, was a blast. However, the biggest “complaint” I have was its tone. It definitely shifted back and forth, being serious, then fun, then violent, then innocent. Some jokes landed, while others felt a little out of place (some of this was with Mikey). It wasn’t jarring, but it definitely felt…off.

That’s all I have on the negative front. The animation was outstanding. Though the faces of the Turtles took a little while to adjust, I eventually grew fond of them. The designs of everyone else were great, as was the Gotham landscape. My favorite part was definitely inside of Arkham (which should surprise nobody). Overall, the movie looked like a blend of the 2003 TMNT series and 2004’s THE BATMAN. It’s great.

BATMAN VS. TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (it shouldn’t be “vs” as their fight lasts for like 3 minutes) should please everybody. While the movie would appear to be suitable for all ages, maybe a quick viewing before letting the young kids watch.

Tone aside, the movie is fun, action-packed and full of eye candy for all Batman and TMNT fans.

Oh yeah…

“Cowabunga” is now Batman canon. – Ryan Lower

GRADE: B+

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Ryan Lower
Representing the Midwest, Ryan has been a BOF fan since 2003, and started contributing to the site in 2017. He is the host of “The Batman Book Club” podcast. Ryan has written reviews for comics, animated movies and TV series. He has also appeared on BOF podcasts and Social Hours for Batman discussions, reviews, and interviews. Thanks to BOF, he was able to meet and have a one-on-one discussion with his favorite artist, Lee Bermejo. Follow him on Twitter @lower_ryan.