Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Now that I’ve had my wedding and am officially on summer vacation, I can focus on more important things. Things like nerding out the way I used to. Catch up on some reading, playing video games, lounge by the pool; you know, “summer vacation stuff.” But I would be remiss if I didn’t start out my summer by watching and reviewing a movie combining my two favorite childhood (and adulthood) properties.
So light the bat signal and warm up your sashimi pizza because it’s gonna be a good one.
Directed by Jake Castorena who has a few animated films under his utility belt, but also did the storyboarding for other Batman animated films like “The Killing Joke” and “Gotham by Gaslight,” two films that encompassed two of the darkest chapters of the Batman mythology.
The plot of Batman vs. TMNT revolves around the Foot Clan and the League of Shadows joining forces to steal equipment from Wayne Enterprises to build a hybrid Ooze mixed with Joker toxin. At first Batman interprets the turtles as a new threat in Gotham, which brings forth some amazing animated fight scenes. Each turtle has a unique look that almost looks like something out of a Tim Burton film. Though it is a bit different than what I am accustomed to (or prefer) in their design, I was quickly able to overlook it with the amazing dialogue and one-liners that brought about their unique personalities perfectly. The banter between Michelangelo and Robin & Donatello and Batgirl were especially great. There is also an amazing showdown early on in this 87-minute fast-paced story between Batman and Shredder doesn’t cut any corners in displaying their skillsets.
The voice-acting is solid with a few legends (Tara Strong returns as Harley Quinn and John DiMaggio as Mr. Freeze), some familiar voices from other places (“SNL” alumn Kyle Mooney plays Michelangelo and Rachel Bloom from “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” plays Batgirl), and for the first time ever the same actor playing both Batman and Joker is done amazingly by veteran video game voiceover actor Troy Baker (“The Last of Us,” “Batman: Arkham Knight,” “Uncharted 4.”)
As far as other straight-to-DVD animated Batman movies go, for my fellow nerds and I, the gold standard had always been “Batman: Assault on Arkham.” I am here to tell you that there is a new king of the hill in straight-to-DVD animated Batman movies, and it’s “Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.” If you’re a fan of Batman, TMNT, impressive and surprisingly bloody/violent animated fight scenes, this is a must view. I will be watching it again soon. It’s that good.